NFL Thursday Night Football coming to CBS in 2014: The NFL and CBS have announced an agreement for CBS to carry eight Thursday Night Football games in 2014. CBS will air the early part of the schedule, which will also be simulcast on NFL Network. The lead CBS announcing team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call those games (next question, obviously, is do they continue their roles on Sundays?) The remaining eight games will air exclusively on NFL Network, and two of them will be late-season games on Saturdays. (Bringing NFL games back to Saturdays in late December is a great move.) CBS will produce all 16 of the games with Nantz and Simms announcing.
Aside from Nantz and Simms’ roles on Sundays, other questions I’m curious about: How is having NFL games on Thursday nights on a major broadcast network going to impact the fall TV season? You pretty much have to figure CBS will own Thursday night through October, and any NBC, ABC or FOX counterprogramming is going to get hammered. Next, what’s up with the logic of NFL Network simulcasting the games with CBS. Unless there’s going to be different audio, different camera angles, or SOMETHING different, there’s absolutely no point to the simulcast. Finally, are the Thursday Night games still going to be bad matchups, or are they going to put compelling games — at least on paper — on the schedule?
The press release from CBS:
CBS AND NFL NETWORK TO EACH TELEVISE 8 GAMES
NANTZ, SIMMS TO BROADCAST THURSDAY NIGHT GAMES
NEW YORK – The National Football League will team with long-time broadcast partner CBS to produce and televise Thursday Night Football for the 2014 season, it was announced today by NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL and LESLIE MOONVES, president and CEO of CBS Corp., and SEAN McMANUS, Chairman, CBS Sports.
CBS will air eight early season games that also will be simulcast on NFL Network. NFL Network will also televise eight late-season games in the run-up to the playoffs. The mix of games will include 14 on Thursday nights and two late-season games on Saturday.
The full slate of 16 regular-season games will be produced by CBS with its lead broadcasters and production team, including JIM NANTZ and PHIL SIMMS, on all Thursday night games. In a new twist, NFL Network hosts and analysts will be featured in the pregame, halftime and postgame shows along with CBS Sports announcers.
The agreement is for the 2014 season with an additional year at the NFL’s option.
“NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans,” said Commissioner Goodell. “Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility for Thursday Night Football on CBS.”
“We are very pleased to build on our outstanding partnership with the NFL by expanding our coverage to Thursday nights,” said Moonves. “CBS is a premium content company and the NFL represents the best premium content there is. I look forward to all this new deal will do for us not only on Thursday nights, but across our entire schedule.”
“The NFL is the most powerful programming in television,” said McManus. “To add a primetime NFL package to our successful Sunday AFC package further strengthens our position in the sports marketplace. We look forward to having Jim and Phil and our top production team showcased in prime time on Thursday nights.”