Sports

CBS Makes Thursday Night Football Its ‘No. 1 Priority’

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Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. (Getty Images)

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. (Getty Images)

(CBS) A day after it was announced that CBS was awarded the rights to showcase eight Thursday Night Football games next season, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said that production “is our No. 1 priority,” according to an interview with the Sherman Report. 

That is reflected in the assigning the No. 1 announcing crew of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms to Thursday night games — at the expense of some their traditional Sunday assignments. CBS confirmed to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio that Nantz and Simms will have some Sundays off, with Florio saying on the McNeil and Spiegel Show today that they’ll likely be slotted into the late-afternoon Sunday games when CBS has doubleheaders while getting the single-game Sundays off.

“Getting the Thursday night package is as high a priority for CBS as I can recall in recent memory,” McManus said. “It was enormous for my boss, (CBS CBS President & CEO Les Moonves). He was involved in every meeting with the NFL and on most of the calls. If the head of the company says this is the highest priority, it sends a message to the NFL.

“The NFL dominates the ratings. Even though we dominate in primetime, the thought of someone else programming the NFL (against CBS on Thursday night) was not an attractive proposition for us.”

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