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The wait is over for 'Dawson's Creek' theme song on Netflix

Say farewell to Jann Arden's "Run Like Mad," which replaced it due to rights issues.
/ Source: TODAY

"Dawson's Creek" fans can finally hear the 1990s teen drama's original theme song when watching it on Netflix.

Netflix announced Friday that Paula Cole's "I Don't Want to Wait," which has been missing in reruns and DVDs of the series for years, will return to airings on the streaming service: "Dawson's Creek fans, I'm thrilled to announce that — at long last — you will hear Paula Cole's iconic song I Don't Want to Wait when you watch the opening credits!" the tweet read, along with a video of those credits:

Netflix is currently streaming all six seasons of the WB channel series, which aired from 1998 to 2003 and brought us future stars Michelle Williams, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson and James Van Der Beek.

But due to rights issues, Cole's theme has been missing; Jann Arden's "Run Like Mad" has been used in its place. And that's no small omission; Cole's tune became a hit independent of the series in 1997, eventually hitting No. 11 on the Billboard charts.

The theme song for "Creek" has been a contentious one from the beginning; TV Line reports that Alanis Morissette's "Hand in My Pocket" was used for the pilot, but she declined to allow it to be used afterward, so Cole's "I Don't Want to Wait" became a good backup.

The main cast of "Dawson's Creek" (from l.) Joshua Jackson, Katie Holmes, James Van Der Beek, Michelle Williams.Alamy Stock Photo

But there was another tune considered first — show executive producer Paul Stupin told the Huffington Post in 2012 that he'd asked Arden to record a theme for the show instead. "Run Like Mad" was that tune, and it was all set to be the theme ... until WB executives considered Cole's song instead.

"Honestly we hadn't (thought about it)," Stupin told the HuffPo. "Now it seems so iconic. But at the time, it was really just another option worth exploring. But when we looked at it and really assessed it, we thought, 'This could be great.' So the network ended up making a deal with Paula Cole."

But rights can be tricky things, and while the deal with Cole included first showings and syndication, it didn't cover outside North America or home video. Released on Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, the first two seasons of "Creek" did feature Cole's song, but sales weren't great and the budget for the remaining seasons got cut, which brought everything back to Arden's original tune.

The Drop: Paula Cole
Paula Cole performing at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California in 2019.Alison Buck / WireImage

Here's the real trivia, though: "Run Like Mad" isn't actually a fully fleshed-out tune.

"I've been inundated by thousands of people asking where they can find the full version of the song," she told HuffPost. "And I have to explain to them, 'That is the full version.' I was so naive that I only wrote 32 seconds of song."

And here's one final bit of trivia: Cole's song has always been part of the "Creek" finale. In 2003, Sony put that series-ender on a special DVD and paid for the rights for her song ... across all media.

It's news that really should make almost everyone thrilled, though maybe not star Van Der Beek. In 2017, he told The Guardian that hearing the tune just brought back memories of crazed fans.

"I have a complicated relationship with that song," Van Der Beek said. "If I was at karaoke and it started playing, there's a part of me — and I'm a f---ing grown-ass man with four kids — that still wants to go hide under the table," he said.