CBS Snags Thursday Night Football Rights -- Will Big Bang Return to Monday Next Fall?

Big Bang Theory Salary TalksAfter months-long negotiations that drew interest from multiple broadcast networks, CBS has won the Thursday Night Football derby.

The deal calls for CBS to air eight NFL games right in the middle of the 2014 fall season, which will likely force some big changes on the network’s schedule (not the least of which is what happens to Thursday juggernaut The Big Bang Theory; let the back-to-Monday speculation begin).

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Those eight games will be simulcast on the NFL Network. Additionally, NFL Net will also televise eight late-season games in the run-up to the playoffs (for a total of 16).

“We are very pleased to build on our outstanding partnership with the NFL by expanding our coverage to Thursday nights,” said CBS CEO Moonves in  a statement. “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.”

Thursday Night Football is coming off its most-watched season ever, averaging 8 million viewers – up 10 percent from its 2012 numbers.

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131 Comments
  1. Jared says:

    Wow! NBC really needed this. I would have fought tooth and nail to get it if I were Bob Greenblatt.

    • dan says:

      That is a real “get” for CBS! I never anticipated they’d get the Thursday night rights (there were rumors that ABC was really gung ho for Thursday night NFL). Les Moonves must be a happy man today (which makes Julie Chen a happy woman, I’m sure)!

    • Just one thing says:

      I think ABC needed it even more. They probably would have HAPPILY shifted Greys/Scandal to another night for that acquision.

      Oh well. As I think Nina T. said last month, “What Les wants, Les gets.”

  2. Jack says:

    Hate sports. Hate it even more on prime time.

  3. catelyn says:

    I wish Abc got this. Other networks already have huge singing competitions/football to boost their ratings average.

    • ... says:

      ABC will be fine since their Thursday shows are very strong and very female-skewing. Great NFL counterprogramming. NBC and FOX deserve more concern because both will be in rebuilding mode on Thursdays next season and having the NFL in their way could make it hard to launch new programming.

      • It’d be a good night to try sci-fi/fantasy genre pieces, as those viewers aren’t likely to be into the soaps and sports. (Stereotypes, I know!)

        • catelyn says:

          maybe but they will get crushed on that timeslot considering that sci-fi/fantasy aren’t usually that highly rated on network tv. Add that to the competition of football and ABC’s highly rated thursday dramas, they won’t survive.

    • b says:

      NO! I was happy to see that BCS got it. I did not want Grey’s or Scandal to be moved! Grey’s is a Thursday night cornerstone!

    • webly3 says:

      I was so disappointed at the headline.

  4. Gwen says:

    This is stupid. It may come as a shock to the people who program these things, but not everyone wants to watch football!

    • David4 says:

      Not only that but Big Bang Theory might actually get more viewers than the football game.

      Fox is the one that really really needed this, but they probably had issues with local news being pushed back every Thursday. It looks like The X Factor will return now.

      • mookie311 says:

        big bang getting more viewers than football on CBS? in no universe. the reason the NFL network’s thursday night games were not as well-watched as the sunday/monday games is because a big chunk of the country doesn’t get the NFL network on their cable/satellite package, which forced the NFL to schedule crappy matchups. now, on CBS, they’ll be able to put much more enticing games on the schedule. ABC is going to have to think real hard about getting grey’s and scandal out of the way.

      • David says:

        But the rest of the Thursday night programming doesn’t do BBT numbers and won’t.

    • Charles says:

      Not everyone wants to watch *insert show here,* but Football is the highest rated program on TV so it makes perfect business sense.

      • dan says:

        There are huge ad revenues for Thursday night tv (I think it usually has the highest ad rates for any “regular” night of tv, except for special events like Super Bowl, Oscars, etc). The movie studios love to spend money on Thursday night ads to promote their weekend movies. That is why “Must See TV” on NBC was such a big deal at the time; those shows made big bucks for NBC. BBT has done well for CBS on Thursday, but with football covering several hours of programming I’m sure the network will make big bucks and then BBT can be moved to another night and continue to earn big ad rates.

        • CandaceTX says:

          Great… maybe now the NFL can be defrocked of their tax-exempt status and pay taxes.

          • Chuck Finley says:

            It wouldn’t matter, all the teams already pay taxes as well as all the athletes. The tax exepmt satus of the mothership is not a big deal because they don’t make in revenue what the teams do, since the teams share in these large tv contracts AND pay taxes on that money. Get a clue.

    • Jax says:

      So? There are about 100 other channels to chose from. Use your remote.

      • Anna says:

        With that logic, you could very easily say that there are tons of all-sports channels that football could air on without interrupting anything.

        • Mike says:

          Can’t blame any network for getting the NFL. NFL brings $$$ to networks like CBS, which in return allows CBS to pickup good shows that people like you love. Look at it that way.

    • KSM says:

      LOTS of people do though. NFL games are consistently the highest rated shows of the week.

    • Chuck Finley says:

      It may come as a shock to you, but not everyone wants to watch whatever crap you watch on Thursdays. Moreover, these games will have a minimum of double, if not triple the ratings of whatever crap shows you want in that spot can pull. Get over it.

  5. If I’m CBS, I would move Big Bang back to Mondays. With HIMYM leaving and some of the other Monday shows struggling, it would be a big boost for them

    • J.Norman says:

      Yes, that would certainly help during the 8 weeks that CBS is showing football, but what about the rest of the 39 week season?
      Would you have them move TBBT back to Thursday after the CBS football schedule is complete?
      Are the 8 games going to be consecutive or spread out from Sept to Dec?

      Because without either football OR the TBBT, how is CBS Thursday going to fare?

      Really, what is your plan for the rest of the season?

    • Elliot says:

      move it to saturday.

  6. Anon says:

    So does this mean RIP Community, RIP Parks and Recreation, and RIP Parenthood? I sure as heck hope so; those shows suck.

  7. Ames says:

    I would have thought ABC would have moved Heaven and Earth to get this…they are the only ones with out any Professional football on thier scheduale and they could really used the ratings boost right now

    • The problem is that ABC was already set on Thursdays with Grey’s and Scandal. It’s built in counter-programming to the NFL.

      • Jax says:

        Yeah but the rest of there week sucks. They could move Grey’s and Scandal to bolster another week night.

        • Jax says:

          Bah! That should be “Their” and “Weak”. Where is an edit button when you need it!

          • John NYC says:

            Aren’t mobile devices and their “helpful” features fun? And yes, the lack of an “edit” option is not a good thing.

          • S. says:

            Actually no, it’s “week.” You had it right the first time on that word. It was the there/their that you needed to switch.

      • Chuck Finley says:

        ROFL, ABC would have dumped both of those shows to another day had they gotten football. Stop kidding yourself. No one in their right mind turns down football money. Is counterprogramming code for “appeals to women and gay dudes” or something?

        • mykka says:

          it means it appeals to people with brains that like well written shows and not some idiots that like watching men running around with a ball.

  8. cjeffery7 says:

    well… that’ll help narrow down what to watch on Thursdays a bit more.

  9. Amanda says:

    Does this mean CBS will not air football on Sundays? I would love if it meant it wouldn’t runover and mess up 60 minutes and Amazing Race ‘s start times anymore.

  10. Ray says:

    I’m glad. CBS is the least watched network in my household so this shouldn’t screw up the scheduling of any of the shows we view on the other networks.

  11. Stuart says:

    I bet they use Big Bang Theory for the first 8 weeks on Monday to launch How I met your Father and to stabalize two broke girls. Then they move it back to Thursday to support their Thursday shows.

  12. Just read the agreement and CBS will also get 2 late season Saturday night games

  13. kevin says:

    NFL does not air their primetime games that late…around 5 or 5:30…the only thing to worry about is overrun for the current Thurs lineup.

    • Katherine215 says:

      They air in prime time in East and Central time zones. Mountain and Pacific may not have trouble but the other time zones will.

    • c-mo says:

      You must be in the PST zone because here in the CST, primetime coverage begins at about 7pm with pre-game and then the actual game beginning about 7:30ish which means it would end at about 10:30, followed by post-game. Since the normal primetime scheduling window is 7 – 10pm (here in the CST), that means that nothing other than football will be shown. And for the hometowns of the teams, they’ll have coverage even beyond network programming. Thus the moral of the story is, CBS will be relocating, at least for September and October, their Thursday night lineup.

  14. Tran 2.0 says:

    I predict that NBC’s comedy line-up should move to a new night maybe Wednesdays and it should have some competition against ABC’s comedy line-up. Greenblatt better have hour long dramas on a Thursday night.

    • zacqua10 says:

      Wednesday is a pretty crowded night. I think the NBC comedies would do even worse on Wednesdays. Going against football probably won’t have much of an impact.

  15. Andrew Hass says:

    I’m fine with CBS getting to air 8 Thursday night games next season and they have months to figure out to handle it in regards to their regular Thursday Night shows.If the 8 games are are in the first weeks of the season then CBS could just push back the Fall premieres of their Thursday night shows to late October or November.Plus then that could mean less airing of repeats of those shows during the season.Or they could move The Big Bang Theory back to Mondays and see how they do there again.

  16. Rock Golf says:

    CBS plans to name the new football program Eleven and a Half Men.

  17. Brandy says:

    So does this mean CBS wil,cut down on comedy hours and have four comedies on Mon(BBT,2 BG,HIMYF,and M& M /Men( if Men isn’t gone this season)?Then what’ll they program on Thurs in Jan-Feb after footballs over?

  18. Sarah says:

    If ‘Big Bang’ moves to Monday Fox will really be screwed, IMO. :(

  19. Eddie says:

    *praying that two and a half men gets killed once and for all*

    • David4 says:

      This is true. I would finally kill it. Save some of the other shows for mid season. Pick 2-3 of the highest rated comedies for Mondays, have a few new ones, and then save the rest with 13-15 episode seasons in the spring. Mom, Mork and Milly, The Crazy Ones have on Thursday in the Spring. Big Bang, some other big show and two new ones on Mondays in the fall.

      • Crog says:

        Do you guys even watch two and a half men? It often improves on the crazy ones ratings. If anything they should kill off mom, the miller’s and the crazy ones. The miller’s would have been a complete failure if it wasn’t sponging off the big bang theory. Two and a half men should go back to Mondays where it did a lot better

  20. Matt says:

    At this point, The Big Bang Theory should be fine in any timeslot. If anything, CBS probably sees this as an opportunity to boost their Monday night lineup, what with one of their flagship comedies going off the air. In case it does play out like that, I wonder if they’re planning on moving TBBT back later in the season.

  21. JenInChicago says:

    They need to stop playing games on Thursday. Players can’t get healthy enough to play in 4 days. For a league who says they’re concerned with player safety, they should step up to the plate and not force these games on the players.

  22. wanie says:

    New girls was doing just fine, they did not need to add tat wayans guy I don’t like hi on the show he doesn’t fit in

  23. Brian says:

    Most people are missing the big point that this doesn’t fair well for any of CBS’s bubble shows: The Good Wife (although critical acclaim should save it for one more season), The Mentalist, H5O, Blue Bloods, etc. While it’s only 8 football games, that is 8 less episodes of 3 hour long dramas that they will need in the fall. Considering that CBS will pick up 2-3 new dramas to keep things fresh + football, that will lead to more shows getting cancelled.

    My question is will all 8 of these football games air on 8 consecutive Thursdays? If not, then it kind of puts CBS in an awkward spot of having to air original shows one week, football game the next, original shows the following week, etc.

  24. Rob R says:

    These are the first 8 Thursdays of the football season, the first three of which would have been Big Bang Theory reruns anyway since BBT doesnt premiere until the last Thursday of September. I believe they will simply start the regular Thursday line-up at the beginning of November, building the anticipation for the return of Big Bang Theory. They can perhaps reduce the order of some of the marginal shows like Crazy Ones to 20 episodes instead of 22. I think the audience will barely notice and Big Bang will return at the first of November in a flourish.

  25. dude says:

    Just what CBS needed, more male viewers.

  26. ggny says:

    People it is only 8 weeks. Shows on Thursday will be fine and CBS will have a regular lineup for Thursday after the 8 weeks is up

  27. tv2day says:

    I was fine watching NFL network on Thurs and dvr’n vampire diaries n scandal. Nothing changes for me. I haven’t watched a comedy series on network TV since sienfeld. They have no appeal to me.

  28. Kristina says:

    Would love to see the rest of the football games go this direction, so we don’t’ have to pay bunches of money for the stupid NFL package! Glad to hear it.

  29. EJ says:

    So will this result in Big Brother’s live eviction shows in September being moved to Wednesdays?

  30. Jake says:

    Of all the networks, it is cbs that needs this the least.

  31. DenverDean says:

    People are being a bit overdramatic here. First the NFL season starts ahead of the TV season, knock out two weeks there; the World Series is on one Thursday and so that’s an easy “repeat” replacement. FOX starts several series the first week in November, I don’t see why CBS wouldn’t do the same with its Thursday slate. It also means 5-6 less repeats during the entire regular season; throw in Thanksgiving and NCAA Tournament; Xmas and NY are on Thursday, so I count 10-11 weeks that either don’t count or originals wouldn’t air anyway. If the season is 36 weeks long and TBBT airs 24, it’s almost repeat free. That’s a huge win for CBS because TBBT could end up as the #1 show in TV. Plus the rest of line-up also benefits by going nearly all original.

  32. Bill says:

    Hopefully what this will mean to viewers if CBS cares about them at all is the dramas on Thursday will have far less repeats because the network will have these 8 episodes which can be programmed in slots when there would normally be repeats. My guess is that it will reduce the number of episodes in order to save money.

  33. TV Gord says:

    They may not need to move their regular Thursday lineup. There are 24 episodes of The Big Bang Theory that air through the 39-week season, so it just means fewer reruns. Of course, BBT does well when it airs reruns, so maybe CBS doesn’t want to give up those reruns, either.

  34. jaybone says:

    No big bang theory on Thursdays is great news for community.

    • Larry says:

      Is it? Community was hurting in the ratings even when not against BBT.

      • lmg says:

        If I were in a habit of watching one show live and DVRing the other, I probably wouldn’t switch it up on days that my live show is a repeat… I may just assume the other one is too and not bother clicking over.

  35. Brandy says:

    Deadline says Big Bang is Likley to stay put on Thurs while the Thurs night lineup starts in Nov and some Thurs night originals will be spread out

  36. sarah says:

    Personally I am more worried about when they will air the Crazy One’s.

  37. Liz says:

    So its’s not enough that CBS has ruined the timing when it comes to watching The Good Wife (which I end up watching on demand), now they are going to do the same with Elementary? Thanks CBS for nothing.

  38. JoyAnne says:

    I just wish they would find decent time slots some night. Any night. For The Mentalist and The Good Wife. Two good shows being ruined by being pushed back so late on Sundays.
    Guess while I’m here I’ll get one more thing in. I thought I was going to enjoy The Millers but the writing for the mother is so crude I’ve given up on it. BTW. I do have a goos sense of humour but ghat goes to far for me.

  39. David says:

    8 weeks really isn’t a long time and I could see CBS simply not running BBT for that period of time. It cuts down on reruns and while it could extend the season into the summer that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think there is a market for better summer programming and extending a popular show like BBT into that period isn’t a bad idea.

  40. Personally, I love football. But there’s only one team I tend to watch outside the playoffs. I’m glad it’ll be easier for me to see the one or two TNF games they’ll be playing in for the season, but that means that only the diehard fantasy/analyst fans of the game will watch every Thursday and there will be tremendous drops in ratings in the regions outside the teams’ localized fanbases. Maybe it’ll balance out, maybe not.
    .
    As for all of you complaining: relax. Everything that you watch will still air. Thursday Night Football is all evening games, so their fall/early winter shows are not likely to even be on. But that means less reruns for shows that do air on the night and a lot of straight through runs after football is over. It won’t be as bad as CBS on Sunday Night, which has the entire regular schedule that can be pushed forward for games that end late. But nothing stopped me from watching The Good Wife. Those of you who live on the west coast have nothing to lose here.

  41. qodrn says:

    It is different here in the PST zone. I hate when specials are on and I forget to watch them at 5 pm. Then when I try to watch them at say 8 or so, I run into repeats of the Murray show or something. And of course Monday night football is always with an early dinner…

    I do feel sorry for East coast team when they play out here in the West, however. I guess for them, the game starts at 11 pm or so. Tough on fans, too. Extra inning /overtime games are even more fun.

  42. Sl says:

    Funny CBS has a juggernaut in Big Bang and has continued to grow and it gets dethroned for football? I like both but rather watch Big Bang on Thursday s.

  43. liz says:

    moving it back to Mondays would be a mistake; the day is SO crowded

  44. Boiler says:

    Last thing we need during the week is more football but would think that it just helps fill any rerun gaps.

  45. wingsstef says:

    I don’t watch football and will be watching something else, but I agree this a good thing for CBS. I am sure ABC will do okay keeping their Thursday Soap night as well as a counterpoint.

  46. Ram510 says:

    This is disgusting! ABC should’ve gotten the games but they never get anything so I guess I’m not surprised. I’m so sick of CBS! But perhaps now the can cancel some of those awful shows they have on Thursday ie Elementary and The Millers

  47. Rosa says:

    how will it affect The Crazy Ones?

  48. Amy says:

    That is good. My Thursdays are already too crowded. Put Big Bang back on Mondays when I have an open slate with nothing to watch.

  49. Bad Samaritan says:

    Question. NFL has 13 of these games, CBS only bought 8 of them. Who gets the last 5?

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