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New study reveals TV’s most recognizable theme song

A new survey questioned 2,200 Americans to see if they could name a show after listening to a 10-second clip of its theme song

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Late “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek chats with “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” contestants James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

Late “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek interacts with “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” contestants James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. A recent study revealed that the “Jeopardy!” theme song is the most recognizable TV show theme song.

ABC

As the search for Alex Trebek’s successor continues, “Jeopardy!” has gone through massive changes — this past season alone, the quiz show cycled through a grand total of 16 guest hosts.

It’s a lot of movement for a show that has been so consistent for so long. But there’s at least one thing fans can count on staying the same: the music.

Jeopardy!” has the most recognizable TV show theme song, according to a new study from USDirect, an authorized DIRECTV dealer. In a survey that questioned 2,200 Americans to see if they could correctly guess a show after listening to a 10-second clip of a theme song, “Jeopardy!” came out on top, with 76% of the respondents recognizing the music.

The theme song, called “Think,” was originally a lullaby that “Jeopardy!” creator Merv Griffin wrote for his son, the Deseret News reported. Griffin received royalties every time the song aired, which earned him close to $80 million before his death.

In a memoir published shortly before his death, Trebek wrote that he never tired of hearing “Think.”

“It’s part of Americana,” he wrote, according to the Deseret News. “It’s something people recognize immediately. Same thing if somebody says, ‘Hey, you didn’t phrase that in the form of a question.’ Everybody in the room knows exactly what the reference is.”

How did other popular TV theme songs fare? Here’s a breakdown of the results:

  • The Simpsons,” “Friends” and “Seinfeld” scored a three-way tie for second, with 71% of the respondents recognizing the theme songs.

  • “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Law & Order” fell only shortly behind.
  • In a bit of a drop-off, 58% of respondents recognized the “Game of Thrones” theme.
  • “New Girl,” “Family Matters” and “Rugrats” followed closely behind.
  • A little over half knew the theme song for “Gilmore Girls.”

  • Despite its popularity, “Stranger Things” only got recognition from about half of the respondents.
  • “Survivor,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Bones” closed out the bottom three, with “Bones finishing last with 22%.