CBS Sports Gets Second Season From NFL on “Thursday Night Football” Package
CBS Sports has landed a sophomore season with Thursday Night Football in 2015. Described as a “Super Bowl in a box” by CBS Sports EVP Operations, Engineering, and Production Ken Aagaard, the new TNF was a successful venture in 2014 that put CBS’s “A” production team to the test.
The network’s NFL programming schedule asked the “A” team – – lead by producer Lance Barrow and director Mike Arnold – to produce Thursday Night Football in addition to its top game on late Sunday afternoons.
“As a whole, it’s been a very good year for us,” says Harold Bryant, Executive Producer/SVP, Production at CBS Sports. “Early on, we thought, ‘how would that crew handle this workload,’ but they have adjusted and actually thrived. To some extent, they are even more dialed-in to the league and what’s going on because they are doing so much.”
CBS Sports Coordinating Producer Lance Barrow believes the Thursday Night Football package makes the CBS crew a better, more well-rounded unit.
“I thought [this season] just went great,” he says. “It was a lot of fun because we got to do a lot of teams that we normally wouldn’t get the chance to see and go to places we haven’t been in a long time. I thought this was just a tremendous year. It was a challenge, but, you know what, it shouldn’t be easy to do something like this.”
From an official release for the NFL and CBS Sports:
CBS will again broadcast the first eight Thursday Night Football games, which also will be simulcast on NFL Network. NFL Network will also exclusively televise eight games leading 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 on all Thursday night games. The pregame, halftime and postgame shows will continue to feature NFL Network and CBS Sports hosts and analysts.
The agreement is for the 2015 season with an additional year at the NFL’s option.
“We are pleased to extend our partnership with CBS for Thursday Night Football,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “The promotion and production by CBS and NFL Network last season made Thursday night a night for NFL football. We look forward to working again next season with CBS.”
“The benefits of Thursday Night Football are evident across our Corporation, including a strengthened primetime lineup that has built on its #1 position,” said Leslie Moonves, President and CEO of CBS Corporation. “The NFL continues to be the best premium content in the business, and we look forward to another year of our expanded partnership in 2015-2016, a season that will culminate with Super Bowl 50 on CBS.”
“I could not be more proud of the job the CBS Sports team did in conjunction with our partners at the NFL in producing, branding and positioning Thursday Night Football as a television destination for viewers,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “The awareness and viewership for Thursday Night Football grew dramatically in 2014, and we look forward to continuing this trend.”
The programming relationship between the NFL and CBS will expand to include, among other elements, the development of new programming initiatives across the various CBS and NFL platforms.
In addition to Thursday Night Football in 2015, CBS will conclude its 56th year broadcasting the NFL with its exclusive presentation of Super Bowl 50 from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Feb. 7, 2016.