Logo descriptions by Nicholas Aczel, Kris Starring, Ryan Froula and iLogoMaster Logo captures by Eric S., Mr.Logo, BenderRoblox, Nightspears, and Gilblitz112 Editions by gshowguy, Ryan Froula, BenderRoblox, MariluHennerArtist45, Liz Tetlow, KirbyGuy2001, Mike Bode, TheBigLogoFan, UniversalFlorida1990 and gameandwatchrocks101
Background: PBS is a publicly funded non-profit distribution service (founded in June 23, 1970) that serves a variety of television stations in the United States of America, as well as some areas of Mexico and Canada. PBS replaced its predecessor NET in October 5, 1970 with some of their original affiliates being KPBS in San Diego, WNET in New York, WGBH in Boston, and KCET in Los Angeles. PBS owns more than 350 television stations today, mostly owned by educational institutions.
(August 30, 1970-October 3, 1971)
Nicknames: "The Text", "The Text of Boredom", "Multi-Colored/Tri-Colored Text", "The World's Most Generic Logo", "Public Boredom Service"
Logo: Just a black background with the words:
stacked on top of each other in red, yellow, and blue.
Cheesy Factor: The logo is too plain. It was probably a placeholder for the next logo. Not to mention the quality is also pretty bad, but considering only one video of the logo exists (save for the Calebration variant), a HQ one might still exist.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: MacDonald Carey says "This is PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service." However, there is no music for this logo.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over Variant: On Calebration, the opening theme plays over this logo, and there is no announcer.
Availability: Extinct. It was used concurrently with the NET logo from 1970 to 1971 mid-season (as a placeholder logo) and then quickly replaced with the 2nd logo. Though PBS officially went on the air on October 5, 1970, the logo itself actually debuted just over a month earlier, on the Grateful Dead concert program Calebration. It also appeared on the initial broadcasts of the NET Fanfare episode "Go Ride the Music", featuring Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service. It was likely seen on the fourth season of Mister Roger's Neighborhood and the second season of Sesame Street, but modern prints have featured either the 1971 or 1989 logo. It was also seen on some of the earliest known extant episodes of WNET's Soul!, and the first Masterpiece Theatre serials (from The First Churchills to Pere Goriot).
Scare Factor: Low. Though not widely seen, the darkness and creepy announcer might get to some. Otherwise may cause possible boredom. But it would somewhat change with the next logo...
2nd Logo (October 3, 1971-September 30, 1984)
WARNING: THE SECOND VIDEO IS LOUD, SO LOWER DOWN THE VOLUME BEFORE WATCHING.
Nicknames: "PBS P-Head", "The Tri-Colored Everyman P-Heads", "The Tri-Colored PBS Logo", "The Tri-Heads from/of Hell/Doom"
Logo: On a black background, an abstract-cut blue P zooms out to upper-mid screen. The "P" turns into a "P-shaped" head, facing left, with the text "PUBLIC" below (this and all of the other text are set in ITC Avant Garde Gothic), and both move to the left of the screen. An abstract-cut orange B appears to the right of the P-Head, and two black dots appear in the B, the latter dot coinciding with the text "BROADCASTING" appearing below the "PUBLIC". An abstract-cut green S appears to the right of the B and black dots appear twice as well, the latter dot coinciding with the text "SERVICE" appearing below the "BROADCASTING". The final text stack reads:
- This logo was designed by Herb Lubalin, also responsible for the aforementioned Avant Garde Gothic. At first, they wanted it to be "PBS" with stars on it, then the letters "PBS" with a star-shaped vortex next to it and finally, a falcon with a "PBS"-shaped neck. They also used the colors red, white, blue, gold, teal & shocking pink in the original ideas, but they didn't look quite right. They even thought of making the "PBS" logo you see above in the same color scheme as the Star-Spangled Banner at first when they showed this idea to them (some of the logos mentioned make appearances in a late 1980s PBS promo using Lionel Richie's Say You, Say Me as its jingle.) You can see a mini-documentary about the logo and it's evolution here.
- This logo was also parodied in the Family Guy S1 episode "The Son Also Draws", where it is already formed and is still, not to mention it is in B&W and is crudely drawn and the P-Head is facing the opposite direction.
- This logo was brought back by PBS as the logo for their "PBS Digital Studios" YouTube channel.
- On the April 19, 1977 broadcast of The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, half the logo is chyroned over footage of the studio where the show was taped at the time; said footage cuts away almost immediately after the S pops up.
- A special variant of this was used on a S8 Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Robert Blake that aired on November 13, 1982, right before a spoof of a PBS commercial. Here, the words "PUBLIC BROADCASTING SERVICE" are removed, the P-Head is green, the "B" is red, and the "S" is blue.
- On a February 1981 broadcast of The MacNeil/Lehrer Report with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, there is a light blue zooming in effect appearing through the blue slant in the show's title name to reveal the blue "P" in the PBS logo.
- According to YouTuber Aspergian, there was a Christmas variant that played in between programs during the holidays. He recalls that it consisted of three thick candles on a dining room table in the colors of the letters (with possibly a Christmas tree with presents in the background). Then "Seasons Greetings" writes out in cursive, with the candles then dissolving into the "PBS" from the normal logo (but the P-Head is wearing a Santa hat). After this, people from the local station would appear, wishing the viewers a Happy Holidays.
- There were two different endings: one with a fadeout, and one without a fadeout.
On an episode of "Alvin Toffler's The Third Wave", the P-Head is green. This is most likely due to videotape deterioration.
- A still version was used for program breaks.
FX/SFX: The Scanimated P-Heads' animations.
Cheesy Factor: Really choppy, limited animation.
Music/Sounds: A telephone-like Moog synthesizer scale descending rapidly, followed by 5 Moog synthesizer tones as the black dots appear. This logo's music was composed by Paul Alan Levi.
- On We Interrupt This Week, a short-lived game show produced for PBS by WNET in 1978, the regular music was replaced by a male choir singing very loudly, "Happy birthday to you!!".
- Mouth Music had an a capella version of the logo's music.
- A low tone variant exists.
The program break variant has a voiceover, different than the previous logo, which also says, "This is PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service."
Availability: Uncommon. Due to replacement with newer logos and newer shows, it was rare to nearly-extinct in recent years. However, DVD releases and streaming have made it easier to find. The logo can be found on the DVD sets The Best of the Electric Company and Sesame Street: Old School. In the latter case, this logo even replaces the NET and 1970 PBS logos on the respective episodes! Additionally, it can be found on Twitch.tv and Amazon.com prints of color Mister Rogers' Neighborhood episodes that PBS last aired before 1990 (final airdates here), sometimes plastering the NET logo - this includes episodes 1271, 1300, 1309, and 1324 on Amazon; and the 1988 PBS Video release of the episode "Death of a Goldfish". The U.S.A. Home Video/International Video Entertainment release of the Hollywood Television Theatre episode "The Andersonville Trial" also has this, as do the VHS and DVD of The Scarlet Letter and a DVD for KERA's coverage of the 1981 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. A surprising find of this logo was seen on an episode (circa 1999-2000) of Saturday Night Live hosted by Freddie Prinze Jr., in which it opened a spoof of Charlie Rose. This was very surprising, considering past sketches spoofing PBS shows have used more recent PBS logos. Two other sightings of this logo include KETC's 50th anniversary special and WTVS' analog-to-digital sign-off (although in the latter, only the last part of the logo plays--the part where dots appear in the S with "SERVICE" appearing below--before cutting to WTVS' program intro tag from the 1970s, both with generic piano music played over the logos). The anniversary specials for KPTS and KVIE also had this logo, but, the logo just "pops" up one letter at a time in KPTS' 40th anniversary special, while a still logo can be seen in KVIE's 50th anniversary special. It first appeared on Jude the Obscure, broadcast as part of Masterpiece Theatre between October 3 and November 7, 1971. The Christmas variant is long extinct and currently cannot be found, but there is proof of it existing (see above). Also made a sneak appearance on a few 1977-82-era episodes of The Dick Cavett Show on DECADES. The DVD of Zoom: Back to the 70s has this logo and the original WGBH Logo.
Scare Factor: Depending on the variant:
- Original Version: Medium to high. The creepy Moog synthesizer music and primitive animation are certain to unnerve more than a few unsuspecting viewers, especially if viewed in a completely darkened room or succeeding credits with a black background.
- We Interrupt This Week Variant: High to nightmare. The choir singing loudly, combined with the choppy animation, will creep out a lot, especially if you were hoping to see the original version.
- Mouth Music Variant: None to medium. This is intended to be funny.
Anyone used to either of these variants will have less of a problem. This logo is a favorite of many
3rd Logo (September 30, 1984-October 1, 1989)
Nicknames: "Split Profile", "The Everyman/Everyperson P", "PBS P-Head II", "The Split".
Logo: On a black background, a blueP-head appears on the upper-mid screen, facing backwards. A piece, which many people call, "The Split", comes out to the right and settles itself about half an inch away. The text "PBS" appears below in a slab serif font, which was designed specifically for PBS (called "ITC Lubalin Graph Bold").
Trivia: Obviously using the "P" in the previous logo as a basis, this logo (and the accompanying slab serif font) was designed and animated by Chermayeff & Geismar, a firm also responsible for many other logos such as the Screen Gems "S" and the 1986 NBC peacock.
- On the series premiere of Square One TV, after the logo forms, the P-head and letters multiply off into the distance, with voice-overs singing "and on...and on...and on..." (taken from a song from the episode) until it fades.
- On one Saturday Night Live sketch from the '80s, which parodies a PBS show, a still 3D-rendered variant was used. This variant was created by SNL and was not actually used by PBS itself.
There is also a still version, which is sometimes accompanied with a voice-over saying, "This is PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service."
- A version exists with the PBS text in yellow.
- As with the previous logo, this faded out sometimes, including on Eyes on the Prize.
On season 1 episodes of Shining Time Station, one of the last new programs to use this logo, the fadeout was slower.
- A filmed variant exists. This variant is silent and the "P" logo is a much lighter blue color, resembling a sky blue
A variant exists with the piece colored red. On superimposed footage of fireworks, two CGI P-Heads (blue and red) appears from off-screen. As the P-Heads turn, the blue head is placed behind the red one, where most of it dissolves away, forming the piece in front of the blue P-Head. After the logo settles in place, the footage fades to black and the text "PBS" fades in. This was spotted on a KETC sign-off in 1991.
FX/SFX: The P-head appearing and stretching. Simple, but effective animation.
Music/Sounds: A majestic piano chord, followed by six string pizzicato tones, and then a softer version of the piano chord. The Square One TV variant also has the same music, but associated with the "And on....and on...." vocals taken from the series premiere episode. Composed by Jonathan Elias.
Availability: Scarce. It appeared on old prints of PBS shows produced from 1984-89. Can also be found on early PBS Home Video releases from the '80s; just look for a banner with the P Head on the left and "PBS VIDEO" filling the entire rest of the banner. It allegedly made its first appearance on the Nature episode "Krakatoa: The Day That Shook the World", broadcast on September 30, 1984, and replaced the previous logo entirely on new programming the day after. The parody 3D variant can be seen on Saturday Night Live: The Best of Phil Hartman on VHS and DVD. It made a surprise appearance on Milwaukee Public TV's 50th anniversary special. This is surprisingly easy to find on Time-Life Video tapes of Nature, most often with the 1987 WNET logo at the start, and it has also appeared on the 1995 PBS Video reissue of Pyramid, part of a series of architectural documentaries hosted by David Macaulay, even though earlier installments had this (and the earlier logo, in the case of Castle) plastered with the 1992 logo in the same reissue of the series. It also appeared on the 1997 Turner Home Entertainment release of Spaceflight. In an oddity, recent prints of the 1976 miniseries The Adams Chronicles end with both this and the 2006 WNET logo. It also showed up on the Twitch.tv prints of episodes #1417 and #1456 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
Scare Factor: Minimal. The music is fairly dramatic and the logo does not give much warning to its appearance, so some may be startled by it, but it's much tamer than the previous logo because of the use of acoustic instruments instead of synths. Additionally, the vocals "And on... And on...." variant may surprise you.
Like the previous logo, this logo's a favorite of many.
4th Logo (October 2, 1989-July 31, 1992) PBS (1989)PBS Just Watch Us Now ID (1990)http://image.wikifoundry.com/image/3/c8bd6bfa0796ae33cde96ec879facd66
Nicknames: "3D Glass", "Transparent Blue P-Head", "Merging Glass P-Head", "PBS P-Head III"
Logo: On a black background, a side-facing transparent dark blue P-head folds to the right, leaving behind a residue trail of "P-Heads". The residue trail fades into the PBS logo from before, which settles itself in the center of the screen, occupying almost all of it. Several multi-colored lines wipe across the bottom of the screen, leaving the text "PBS" in the same font as before to the bottom left.
Trivia: Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that the residue trail has a total of seven P-Heads, including the initial P-Head.
- In an alternate version of the ident, the "P-head" appears just by fading in with the "PBS" text. No lines streak across the screen; therefore it is a still version of the ident.
- There is a 1990 Just Watch Us Now ident where we zoom out of the P-Head made of glass with light rays coming out of the P-Head's eye. Then the words "TV WORTH WATCHING" zooms out, and goes to the bottom left. The rest of the animation proceeds to this logo starting with lines wiping the word "PBS".
- There is another version of the ident that fades in, lines already intact. This was used for program breaks.
- There is a promo variant where the background is changed to white and there are multi colored shapes rotating around the P-Head. The "PBS" Text is also colored purple.
FX/SFX: The P-head folding, and the lines wiping. Great CGI animation.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A long held-out string note combined with synth bells (played on a Roland D-50 using the Fantasia preset) and chimes, followed by an announcer (Irish actor Liam Neeson, who played Qui-Gon Jinn from Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Bryan Mills from Taken, Bad Cop/Good Cop from The Lego Movie and Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul in the Dark Knight trilogy) saying "This is PBS".
- On the still version, the same music, as in the ident's original version, is used. Once again, the announcer says "This is PBS". There is also a silent variant as well for this variation.
- A silent version was used on VHS releases of Barney & Friends season 1 episodes. This version also appeared one time on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood"No & Yes #1541".
- The still version with the lines intact uses a different male announcer saying, "This is PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service."
On Mister Rogers Neighborhood episode 1250, the normal theme plays. However, if you listen closely, the 1971 logo's music plays quietly. This is a result of a bad plaster.
Availability: Rare. As with other vintage PBS logos, the chance of showing up on TV now is almost nothing, but some PBS Home Video releases from the era at libraries may have it. Just look for a square in the top-left corner of the front of the box with "PBS VIDEO" below a P-head. It also plasters the 1971 logo on Twitch.tv and Amazon.com prints of various 1971-75 Mister Rogers' Neighborhood episodes that last aired on PBS in the 1990s (final airdates here); this include episodes 1176, 1177, 1179, 1180, 1261, 1281, 1384, and 1389 on Amazon. This also plasters over the 1984 logo on episodes dating from 1984-1989 on the latter program when it aired on Twitch.tv. This may plaster earlier PBS logos on Time-Life Video releases of Nature, including "Forest in the Sea" (which preserves its original WNET logo). Other programs where it plastered earlier logos in the early '90s include Dinner at Julia's, French in Action, and Reading Rainbow. On DVD, it appears on episodes of The American Experience from the era. For its last year, it was used in tandem with the next logo, appearing on Healing and the Mind with Bill Moyers, The American Experience, most 24th season episodes of Sesame Street, some 11th season episodes of Nature, all 20th season episodes of Nova, all 2nd season episodes of Lamb Chop's Play-Along, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, and many early-to-mid-'90s reruns of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
Scare Factor: Minimal. The dark vibe of the logo may get to some, but the music and animation are cleaner this time.
5th Logo (November 22, 1992-September 1, 1996) Public Broadcasting Service "Orange CGI P-Heads" (1993) - CLG Wiki
Nicknames: "Orange CGI P-Head", "Glass P-Head", "Pink P-Heads", "PBS P-Head IV", "Pink PBS Logo"
Logo: In a pink/orange lighted environment, several transparent ellipses revealing people faces appear and disappear one at a time. Then we zoom out through a circle, which turns out to be the eye in the PBS P-Head standing on a floor, made from glass. To the left of the P-Head, the text "PBS" rotates to face the screen.
- This is a live-action logo, captured on 35mm film. The people faces were captured on October 19, 1992; the actual logo was filmed two days later. The logo was designed by Telezign.
- Much like HBO and their famed "In Space" opening, this logo also had its own mini-documentary detailing the making of it. You can watch it here.
Variant: There is a completely still variant with a male or female announcer saying, "This is PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service." This was used for program breaks. The same still variant, without the announcer, would be substituted in place of the "Viewers Like You" credit on Ken Burns' The West.
FX/SFX: The animation, the zoom out, and the letters turning.
Cheesy Factor: The zoom-out and animation look sped up. Otherwise, it looks nice (contrary to its first nickname, it was not computer animated, it was created on film with models; the P-Heads were frosted glass and the "PBS" text was rotated with rostrums).
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A funky piano and choir boogie tune, followed by an announcer (Chris Murney, the voice of Elisha Hunt Rhodes in Ken Burns' The Civil War) who says "This is PBS." The music was composed by Peter Fish, who has also done music for CBS News.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over Variant: There is a rare variant that exists without the voice-over.
Availability: Uncommon. Again, it has fleeting appearances on PBS today, but your best bet to find it is '90s PBS Home Video tapes at your local library, including the Turner releases of The Dinosaurs and Ken Burns' Baseball. It's also preserved on episodes of The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on DVD. It allegedly first appeared on The Dinosaurs: The Monsters Emerge, broadcast on November 22, 1992. The scope of programs on which this logo appeared was widened by March 1993; until then, the only other known programs where this logo had appeared were Charlie Rose and Masterpiece Theater. In the mid-'90s, it became the chief means of logo plastering for PBS, appearing on newer prints of Castle, Cathedral, Eyes on the Prize, How Difficult Can This Be?, and Nature, among other programs. This appeared at the start of most PBS Home Video releases from Turner Home Entertainment in the mid-'90s. For its first year, it was used in tandem with the previous logo, appearing on some episodes of Nature (starting in its 11th season), Sesame Street (particularly late in the 24th season), and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (mainly episodes that premiered in 1993 as well as some mid-'90s reruns of older programs) as well as all third-season episodes of Shining Time Station, 1993 episodes of Newton's Apple, and the earliest nationally-broadcast episodes of Charlie Rose, among others. This could also be seen on various episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood from 1974-1980 on Twitch.tv, its first appearance being on Episode #1362.
Scare Factor: Minimal. The weird music and fast pace of the logo might catch some off guard, but otherwise it's harmless.
6th Logo (September 2, 1996-c. December 25, 1998) NET/PBS - CLG Wiki
Nicknames: "The PBS Windows III", "CGI Window", "PBS P-Head V", "CGI Window, Globe and Telescope"
Logo: On a black background, a CGI window appears with a birds-eye view of the earth, a plastic globe spinning on the top right, and a telescope rotating on the bottom left. The pear-colored PBS P-Head (with the split colored light blue) appears in front of the window and grows smaller as the window grows bigger. As the two meet each other, the window disappears. Inside the P-Head are transparent images of two globes, a feather and a telescope. The P-Head takes it's place in the top center of the screen and turns to light blue and aquamarine as the text "PBS" fades in below them.
Trivia: This was based on a 1994 rebranding of PBS produced by PMcD Design; this rebranding would gradually be adopted by many PBS stations over the ensuing years, including WSJK/WKOP, WNET, and WVIZ.
FX/SFX: Neat CGI effects.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A new age tune with guitars and flutes, followed by a female announcer (the late Lauren Bacall) who says "This is PBS."
Music/Sounds/Voice-over Variant: On some shows, Lauren Bacall says "You are watching PBS." This was used for program breaks.
Availability: Same as before. It appears on TV sometimes, but PBS Home Video tapes at the library are an easier way to find it. This appeared at the start and end of Turner Home Entertainment's releases of Adventures from the Book of Virtues, and also plasters the previous logo on an episode of American Experience, which was packaged with Warner Home Video's 70th anniversary Blu-ray release of Citizen Kane. Even when the next logo started to be used, Charlie Rose continued to use this one for at least a couple more months.
Scare Factor: Low. It might surprise you the first time you see it, but it's harmless, and it's rather interesting to see stuff in the P-Head.
7th Logo (November 2, 1998-September 1, 2002) NET/PBS - CLG WikiNET/PBS - CLG WikiNET/PBS - CLG WikiNET/PBS - CLG WikiNET/PBS - CLG Wiki Public Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiPublic Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiNET/PBS - CLG WikiNET/PBS - CLG Wiki Public Broadcasting Service - CLG Wiki
Nicknames: "Circle P-Heads", "PBS P-Head VI", "Circle PBS P-Head"
Logo: On a computer-generated sky background, a person standing to the left covers his or her head with a black circle with the PBS P-Head on it in white. Acrobats jump from all directions off the circle. The text "PBS" appears to the right, with the URL www.pbs.org appearing below it. This is the last logo that used the words "This Is PBS". Also, throughout the ident, different things happen in the background: On all ten variants, there are tiny superimposed silhouettes of people flying in a circle behind the acrobats. On three out of ten of the variants, there are silhouettes of big wands briefly flying down behind the PBS text. And on the rest, there are silhouettes of people tip-toeing in an oval (a circle on the widescreen version) around the person.
Trivia: This logo was designed at Publicis & Hal Riney and animated at Lee Hunt Associates.
Variants: Each time you see this logo, different people are holding the circle with the P-head on it, and the acrobats doing different kinds of tricks around the P-head circle. Here's a list of the men and women you see (that also includes the tricks the acrobats do) : Man in gold shirt; female acrobats with orange do a backflip. Man in blue shirt; same acrobats from 1st variant. Woman in blue shirt; male acrobats with yellow shirts do a "side spin". (This version was also used for high definition programming.) Woman in deep red shirt; male acrobats with Prussian blue shirts curl into a ball and spin around. Man in orange-tan shirt; same acrobats from 3rd variant. Older woman (Lauren Bacall herself) in red shirt; same acrobats from 4th variant. Woman in folly shirt; same acrobats from 4th variant. Man in dark blue shirt; same acrobats from 1st variant. Woman in red shirt; same acrobats from 3rd variant.
FX/SFX: The computer effects used to shrink the acrobats and superimpose them around the circle.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A brief synth swell and a 3-note flute fanfare, then a new age percussion/choir tune, followed by the female announcer from the previous logo (Lauren Bacall) who says "This is PBS." If you listen carefully, you can also hear a trombone and strings in the background as well. There is also a variant that exists with Lauren Bacall saying, "You are watching PBS." This was used for program breaks.
Availability: Rare. This logo can usually be found on reruns and some PBS Home Video tapes (mainly the ones that use the Warner Home Video logo instead of the PBS Home Video logo) such as An Ice Cream Show. It is also preserved on '98-'02 episodes of Scientific American Frontiers on the Chedd-Angier website. On home video, the "man in gold shirt" variant appeared on An Ice Cream Show, and the "woman in blue shirt" variant appeared on Great Old Amusement Parks. This still appears on Workplace Essential Skills if your station is broadcasting it.
Scare Factor: None.
8th Logo (Summer 2000-2002) PBS (2001)PBS (2001) ["Stay Curious"]
Nickname: "Stay Curious"
Logo: Against an orange background, we see the PBS circle in a light yellow color with the P head being the same orange color as the background. The "P" Circle slowly eases back and fades out as four green circles appear and spread around the screen revealing smaller light yellow circles inside. Four more circles appear and the outer circles merge with the other circles before they begin spreading out. The PBS "P" Circle now in the standard black and white colors appears with a blur effect. Small circles form "pbs.org" below in a white calibri font.
Variants: A version with a blue color scheme was used between programs. Instead of the URL, the text below the PBS circle read "Stay curious. PBS". An extended variant begins on a blue background with a darker blue P head. The camera zooms into the pupil and the normal animation begins. The logo also has a green tint to it.
FX/SFX: The "P" Circle easing back and vanishing. The circles forming, spreading, merging, and spreading again. The blurring in of the PBS logo. The circles forming the pbs.org name. Typical early 2000's animation.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A three-note ascending tune (D, E, A), and a voiceover saying "This is PBS."
Music/Sounds/Voice-over Variants: On the blue variant, one of two tunes was used: Usually, the tune was played in the key of D (G, A, D) on a celesta, followed by a new age rhythmic tune played on a celesta and acoustic guitar. A slightly longer version of the blue variant, usually shown before the 7PM broadcast of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, uses the second half of the CPB/Viewers Like You music of the era.
Availability: Extinct. This appears to have been used only briefly, and even then as an alternate logo, during PBS's "Stay Curious" campaign, but it ended up being retired quickly and the previous logo continued to be used for another year. As far as scarcity goes, not even the 1st logo, which has only turned up on the Internet as of writing, has anything on this one. One program on which this logo appeared was American High. Being the national station ID shown on the satellite feed, the blue logo remained in use for a while longer.
Scare Factor: Low. It could catch you off guard if you expected the previous logo, but it's mainly boring.
9th Logo (September 2, 2002-2011) NET/PBS - CLG WikiNET/PBS - CLG WikiNET/PBS - CLG WikiPBS (2003)NET/PBS - CLG WikiPublic Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiPublic Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiNET/PBS - CLG WikiPublic Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiPBS (2002, Basketball)PBS (2002, Activities)Be More PBS Logos - CLG Wiki
Nicknames: “Be More”, “We Are PBS”, “I Am PBS”, "PBS P-Head VIII", "Circle PBS P-Head III", "The Sienna Curtains"
Logo: We see a letterboxed clip show of live-action footage, filmed on a large set with hardwood floor and a background of shaggy raw sienna-colored curtains. Culturally and generationally diverse people are employed in the variants, each giving different performances on-camera. As the last clip plays, we see the “Circle P-Head” logo animating with the word "PBS" on the right and the slogan “Be more” on the left. The text has been modified a bit after the past 18 years. Throughout the bumper, a bug for the URL "pbs.org" is seen in the lower left corner.
Variants: Here are some of the variations that have been seen of late, with a list of the clips in each variant in chronological order: Young People: A teenage girl presses her hands on her boyfriend’s cheeks and gives him a kiss; a mother plays with her baby’s feet; a dad and his little boy are holding guitars; mom and daughter are side by side; a mom runs pulling a red wagon holding her two little girls (Edie Mirman: “We are PBS”). Standard: A woman threads her fingers through her hair; another young woman gyrates from right to left; a baby wearing a hat walks. ("We are PBS"). A man sits with a pile of books; a young man smiling; a close-up of a smiling young woman's head; a close-up of of the previous man smiling. ("We are PBS"). Performers: A man sits on a stool holding a guitar; a dressy man plays his trumpet; a teenage boy is "bopping" to his headphones; a young dancer spins in her dress; an elderly man takes a bow (David Kaye: “We are PBS”). Activities: A man sits with a pile of books, a woman takes a picture of flowers with her camera; a young man in a wheelchair; catches a soccer ball; a man plays with his dog; a young woman hula-hoops. Flowers: A close-up of a smiling woman’s head; then we see her holding a large bouquet of flowers, a close-up of the flowers, and finally a close-up of the woman holding the flowers (Helen Mirren: “I am PBS". The music is given a “Baroque” arrangement). Daddy and Son: A dad and his little boy are holding guitars; a close-up of them playing; and the dad and son on a playground swing (Kyle Eastwood): “We are PBS.” The music is arranged as horn-spiked guitar-rock). Mother and Daughter: A mother and her teenage daughter are seen spinning and dancing; a close-up shot of the daughter kissing her mom; and the two hug (Edie Mirman: "We are PBS." The music used in later versions of this variant is played in a soft guitar melody). Generations: A mother holds her baby; an old man smiling; a young man takes off his cowboy hat. (Edie Mirman: “We are PBS.”) Cowboy Hat: The young man from the "Generations" variant is dancing with his cowboy hat; a close-up of him wearing it; and finally he briefly tosses it at the camera and giggles (David Kaye: "I'm PBS." A groovy country-style version of the music is played on a bass). Basketball: We see a facial close-up of the man in a wheelchair from "Activities"; he plays with his basketball; then we see him on the left smiling ("I am PBS." A funky hip-hop version of the music is used.) Young Woman: This variant features the same dancing woman from "Performers". First, we see her riding on a scooter, then smiling at the camera wearing a picture hat, and finally we see her spinning in her dress as she does in the "Performers" variant, but closer to the right of the screen so we see the logo animating ("I am PBS"). There is also a version of the logo that has no live-action footage. A burst of light comes in from either side of the screen, and we see an outline of the "P-head" logo (in a style similar to the 1984 logo). Other lighting effects occur, and at the end the circle "P-Head" logo animates, with "PBS" on its right side and "Be more" on its left. There is no voice-over. On Carrier, the voice-over says “This show will return in a moment over most of these local stations. We are PBS.” On The This Old House Hour, there was another version with a voice-over saying "This PBS show will return in a moment". There was another version with a voice-over saying "The following PBS show is closed captioned". There was another version with a voice-over saying "PBS will return in a moment". There's also a version that appeared on Frontline. On the same background as the CPB logo of the time but darker, we see the words "Perspective. Analysis. Understanding." in white slowly zoom in and shine. Then the words "dissolve" away and the Be More PBS logo animates. In the background throughout the ident is a wallpaper-like array of transparent copies of the words seen earlier. The music is arranged in a beautiful piano solo ending in a dramatic string cadence and a male announcer (Bob Hilton) saying "This is PBS." There is another non-animated variant which is adapted from the 2004 PBS Distribution logo, which is normally shortened except before PBS NewsHour. As with the blue variant of the previous logo, this was used as the national network ID on the satellite feed.
FX/SFX: Mostly live action, except for the logo animating at the end.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A majestic orchestral tune. The same tune is always used, but is rearranged for some variants and has a different voice-over (see above for examples).
Availability: No longer current, but it's still common, generally being preserved on reruns of older PBS programming, including the specials Lawrence Welk: Milestones and Memories, where it plasters the previous logo, and Welk Stars Through the Years. This wasn't used much for plastering, unlike previous logos, though it did appear on the most recent rebroadcasts of An Ice Cream Show. Though the logo officially ended on September 27, 2009, this continued to appear on Nightly Business Report until March 26, 2010, and on Charlie Rose, as late as 2011. The satellite ID variant can still be seen on certain programs to this day, though usually promos and interstitials selected by the local PBS station are used instead (you might catch this if your station, by some random chance, e.g. during a transition to or from Daylight Savings Time, or late at night on KET2, broadcasts promos and interstitials from the standard PBS feed at any time for whatever reason).
Scare Factor: None. You might get caught off guard depending on the music, though they are soothing.
10th Logo (September 28, 2009- ) PBS (2009)Public Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiPublic Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiPublic Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiPBS - 2009Public Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiPublic Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiPublic Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiPublic Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiPublic Broadcasting Service - CLG WikiPublic Broadcasting Service - CLG Wiki
Nicknames: "Be More II", "Be More, PBS", "PBS P-Head IX", "Circle PBS P-Head IV"
Logo: We see a video of a person or people having activities. Suddenly, the PBS logo appears with "Be More" on the left and "PBS" on the right. The word "PBS" then changes to the URL "pbs.org". A voice-over says "Be More, PBS." as the logo animates.
Variants: Art Interacts: A man is walking in a street when he encounters a gigantic exotic Pine Green object that looks like a Rubik's-Cube slanted on its corner, which twirls around quite to the man's amusement. The music is played on percussion, electric piano and celesta. Big Dreams: An Ecru-clad woman and her son are in a mall. The kid looks through an astronaut helmet. The music is played on an electric piano. Observing Child: A boy in a forest-green jacket is walking in a shallow lake with his doodling pad. The music is played on a harp and concertina. Family Viewing: A family is looking through a telescope at the stars in the sky. The music is played on a piano and cellos. Bluesman: Calvin Keys is playing the tune on his guitar while someone films it on camcorder. On Bluegrass Underground, this fades in and out. Photo Album: A man and his grandson are looking at old pictures of their African ancestors in a scrapbook. The music is played on drums, piano, and electric guitar. Symphony: A symphony orchestra performs the tune. The camera sees the violin, bass clarinet, marimba, cymbal and tuba. Strange Recipe: A storekeeper recommends a pineapple to his supermarket's customer. The music has the CPB logo's music playing as a backing track, albeit either a bit muffled or in a slightly different arrangement, and the main melody is played on woodwinds. Generic: Sometimes, there is no live action footage; instead the logo is placed on a custom background with bubbles. The background is used in four different colors: blue, green, orange, and magenta. On some shows, an announcer says, "You're watching PBS". The music is orchestrated either with the standard strings-and-keyboard arrangement (for the blue version) or with a classical guitar/harp (for the magenta version). Masterpiece: A variant appears on episodes of Masterpiece. Clips from episodes of the anthology series are shown one by one over the blue background before the PBS logo appears as usual. The voiceover says, "Masterpiece, only on PBS." The music is played on strings and keyboards. Antiques Roadshow: A variant appears on episodes of Antiques Roadshow. Clips from episodes are shown together over the orange background before the PBS logo appears as usual. The voiceover says, "Antiques Roadshow, only on PBS." The music is played softly on a guitar and piano. Public Affairs: A variant appears on episodes of Frontline and Washington Week, as well as on the special America After Charleston. Depicted over the blue background are various public affairs personalities (as of 2016, Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Hari Sreenivasan, and Charlie Rose, in that order; early programs with this logo featured a different montage with a different slate of public affairs personalities), before the PBS logo appears as usual. The voiceover is the same as on the generic variants. The music is orchestrated in a hard rock version. This variant was retired following Ifill's death in November 2016. Generic (We'll Be Right Back): As with the previous logo, the generic logo (often using the blue or green version) is sometimes shown at the start of program breaks, with a voiceover saying, "This PBS program will return in a moment." The music is played either on strings and keyboards or in an electronic arrangement.
Trivia: Perhaps due to its appeal to a variety of audiences for the network, this is PBS's second longest-lasting ID, after their Everymen logo.
FX/SFX: Same as the 9th logo.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A 5-note tune, created by music company Expansion Team. Like the eighth logo, the same tune is always used, but is rearranged for some variants and has a different voice-over.
Availability: Currently in use on most PBS first-run shows. The variants are used randomly, as with the previous logos, on many programs, including Nova, This Old House, MotorWeek, and The Woodwright's Shop; however, on certain programs you can always expect to see the following variants: Art Interacts: Seen at the end of American Masters, some Secrets of Britain specials, some first-season episodes of A Chef's Life, and recent rebroadcasts of A Program About Unusual Buildings and Other Roadside Stuff, and in rotation on Vicious. Some broadcasts of Masterpiece during pledge drive season will end with this instead of the custom variant created for the series, as seen during a nationally-broadcast series six marathon for Downton Abbey, and it also appears in place of said custom variant on the Downton Abbey series finale. Big Dreams: Seen at the end of Charlie Rose: The Week, The Brain with David Eagleman, and Jackie Robinson. Observing Child: Seen at the end of Earth's Natural Wonders, Wild Alaska Live (including the PBS Kids Channel simulcasts), and recent rebroadcasts of The Adirondacks. Family Viewing: Seen at the end of Hometime, some first-season episodes of A Chef's Life, some Secrets of Britain specials, Carol Burnett's Favorite Sketches, and recent rebroadcasts of the original version of Great Old Amusement Parks. It was actually the first variant to be shown, debuting on The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Bluesman: Seen at the end of Washington Week (until July 24, 2015), To the Contrary, Jazz, most episodes of Austin City Limits, Bluegrass Underground, and a 2016 rebroadcast of A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway. Also seen at the end of concerts broadcast on PBS, including Simon and Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park, Alice's Restaurant 50th Anniversary Concert, current broadcast prints of the United Artists film The Last Waltz, and Journey Live in Houston 1981: The Escape Tour, and many a My Music special, including California Dreamin': The Songs of the Mamas and the Papas. Photo Album: Seen at the end of PBS NewsHour Weekend, Tavis Smiley, and The Civil War. It also appeared on Great Old Amusement Parks as seen as part of the Rick Sebak's Summer Fun collection and the first episodes of Charlie Rose: The Week. Symphony: Seen at the end of PBS Previews, A Capitol Fourth, some current episodes of Austin City Limits, and some Secrets of Britain specials. Strange Recipe: Seen at the end of A Chef's Life and The Great British Baking Show. Generic (Blue): Seen at the end of PBS NewsHour, Washington Week, Third Rail with Ozy, current prints of The Statue of Liberty, and in rotation on Vicious. Also appears on many a My Music special, including Summer, Surf & Beach Music We Love. Generic (Magenta): Seen at the end of Charlie Rose, Point Taken, and Call the Midwife, and in rotation on Vicious.
Scare Factor: Same as the 8th logo.
HISTORY'S BEST January 26, 1998-September 4, 2000) PBS (1998)
Nicknames: "Gold Circle", "Gold Circle PBS P-Head", "PBS P-Head VII", "Circle PBS P-Head II" Logo: On a white background, historic images zoom out and black numbers zoom in. A white circle outline zooms out very fast and then changes into the PBS P-Head inside a gold circle on the right and the historical images fade out. Finally, the numbers transform into the word "PBS" on the left.
FX/SFX: The circle zooming out, the numbers zooming and transforming.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A futuristic choir tune with an announcer saying "This is History's Best on PBS". When opening programs, the announcer says, "Presenting History's Best on PBS". Sometimes, it's worded as "You're watching History's Best on PBS".
Availability: Extremely rare. This was used in lieu of the 7th logo on a short-lived programming block called "History's Best". On home video, this appears on the Ken Burns documentary Not for Ourselves Alone. It also appears on a few episodes of American Experience released on home video at the time. It was first seen on Irish in America: Long Journey and last seen on Bicycle Corps: America's Black Army on Wheels.
Scare Factor: Low.
(January 17, 2016-March 5, 2017)
Logo: Against a brown background featuring BG graphics from Mercy Street, the Mercy Street title appears, followed by the typical PBS logo appearing in its place.
FX/SFX: The Mercy Street title and PBS logo appearing.
Music/Sounds/Voiceovers: A strings tune sourced from incidental music from Mercy Street. An announcer says, "You've been watching Mercy Street on PBS."
Availability: Appears only on Mercy Street. Don't expect to see this on the half-hour behind-the-scenes special Inside Mercy Street. Now no longer current due to the show's cancellation.
Scare Factor: Low. Its suddenness may startle those expecting to see the regular 2009 PBS logo.
1st Logo (2011-December 12, 2014)
Logo: Against a purple/magenta background, an orange circle forms itself in watercolor in the center of the screen, followed by a pink circle to its left and a blue circle to its right. "PBS arts", with PBS in magenta, fades in within the orange circle, and the Circle P-Head forms itself to the left. The URL "pbs.org/arts" fades in below.
FX/SFX: The circles forming themselves.
Music/Sounds: A guitar piece.
Availability: Seen on old PBS Arts programs. Its last known sighting was on the Live from Lincoln Center episode "Curtain Up: The School of American Ballet Workshop", first broadcast on December 12, 2014.
Scare Factor: None.
2nd Logo (2013-2014)
Availability: Seen on Pennsylvania Ballet Celebrates 50 Years.
Scare Factor: Minimal.
3rd Logo (2014-October 2, 2015)
Logo: Against a white background, objects resembling glass curtains part, revealing the Circle P-Head with "PBS | ARTS" to the right. PBS is in the usual font. Below is the URL "pbs.org/arts" and, to the right, the Twitter hashtag "#PBSarts".
FX/SFX: The glass curtains parting.
Music/Sounds: A choir at the start, with an upbeat synthesized tune backing and a 9-note horn stinger at the end.
Availability: Seen during the 2014-2015 PBS Arts season. It last appeared on a rebroadcast of In Performance at the White House honoring songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
Scare Factor: Minimal.
4th Logo (October 9, 2015-2016)
Logo: The camera tracks through a colorful environment full of decorations and 2D sculptures of various performers. At the end, the PBS Arts logo is revealed.
Variant: An abbreviated version appears at the end of programs.
FX/SFX: Just the decorations and their minimal movements.
Music/Sounds: A Latino-flavored fanfare with a choir and strings.
Availability: Seen on 2015-2016 PBS Arts programs, including a rebroadcast of Royal Paintbox. This appeared at the start of an hour-long Bluegrass Underground special, though the regular logo appeared at the end.
Scare Factor: None.
5th Logo (2016- )
Variant: Same as the previous logo.
Music/Sounds: A hip-hop tune with orchestral hits.
Availability: Current. First seen on Hamilton's America.
Scare Factor: None.
1st Logo (1992)
Availability: Extinct. Seen at the start of a 1992 election special.
Scare Factor: TBA
2nd Logo (1996)
Scare Factor: TBA
3rd Logo (2000)
Availability: Extinct. Seen on election-themed programming in 2000.
Scare Factor: TBA
4th Logo (2004)
Nickname: "By the People"
Music/Sounds: Same as on the Frontline variant of the 2002 PBS logo.
Availability: Extinct. Appeared on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, among other election-themed programs in 2004.
Scare Factor: Minimal.
5th Logo (2008)
Scare Factor: Minimal.
6th Logo (2012)
Availability: Extinct. Appeared on Charlie Rose, among other election-themed programs in 2012.
Scare Factor: TBA
7th Logo (July 15-November 8, 2016)
Nicknames: "Reliable, Balanced, Real", "The Only Good Part of 2016's Election", "Shinier Than Both Turds"
Music/Sounds: A soft fanfare, with a male voiceover saying, "Reliable. Balanced. Real. Election 2016 on PBS."
Availability: Appeared on election-themed programs in 2016. First appeared on the Washington Week Cleveland Roadshow Edition. Its last appearance was on the marathon-length special PBS NewsHour: Vote 2016.
Scare Factor: None. But it may be annoying to those disgusted by both major political party candidates chosen for president in 2016. (Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton)
PBS INDIES (2013- )
Music/Sounds/Voiceovers: An abridged version of the 2009 CPB logo's music. At the end of the program, a voiceover says, "PBS, your home for independent film."
Availability: Appears at the end of Independent Lens and POV.
Scare Factor: None.
PBS STORIES OF SERVICE (2014- )
Music/Sounds/Voiceovers: A solemn yet uplifting four-note brass piece which sounds almost like the first three notes of "Taps". At the end of the program, a voiceover says, "This is PBS."
Availability: Rare. Can be seen on PBS programs about American servicemen.
Scare Factor: Minimal.
PBS SUMMER OF ADVENTURE (June 20, 2017- )
Music/Sounds/Voiceovers: A quick, lively tropical tune.
Availability: Brand new. Debuted on The Story of China. Also appears on Big Pacific and Great Yellowstone Thaw.
Scare Factor: None. For a logo about adventure, it's surprisingly relaxing.
SPOTLIGHT EDUCATION (September 12-17, 2016)
Availability: Only seen on episodes of POV, Frontline, Nova, Craft in America, and other programs which take a look at the American education system and were broadcast over one week in September 2016.
Scare Factor: None.
THINK WEDNESDAY (April 9, 2014- )
Music/Sounds/Voiceovers: A new-age rock tune. A female voiceover says, "Think Wednesday, think PBS."
Availability: Seen at the end of The Mystery of Matter, as well as first-run episodes of Earth's Natural Wonders, Nova, and The Brain with David Eagleman.
Scare Factor: Minimal, though it may surprise first-time viewers expecting to see the 2009 PBS logo.