It was announced Wednesday that CBS has purchased the rights to simulcast Thursday Night Football for the upcoming regular season. The network will air eight regular season games that will be available on both CBS and NFL Network. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be the broadcast pairing along with the standard NFL Network crew working the sidelines and pre- and post-game shows.
Thursday Night Football occurs in 16 of the season’s 17 weeks, so the final eight games of the regular season schedule will air exclusively on NFL Network, though Nantz and Simms will call all 16. The deal has an option for the 2015 season, as well. FOX, ABC and Turner Sports were also involved in the bidding.
Although TNF was widely panned for the poor quality of play and generally awful matchups, it was still a ratings monster last season, because FOOTBAW. ‘Merica can’t get enough. TNF was consistently the top-rated program on cable last season, and reportedly the numbers came close to even topping network programming, despite NFL Network being available in jus 72 million homes nationwide. Bringing the games to the CBS network means the thing is going to crush the competition on Thursday nights.
The deal also indicates that there will be two late-season games on Saturday, as well. Late-season Saturday games used to happen once college football’s regular season ended, but there were none in 2013. So that’ll be fun.