CBS typically dominates the ratings on Thursday nights. Come fall 2014, its lead is likely to grow even wider.
The network is expanding its NFL broadcast package to include eight Thursday-night games starting with the 2014 season. The CBS games will air in the first half of the NFL season — September and October, essentially — and will be simulcast on the NFL Network, which for the past few years has been the sole home of Thursday prime-time games. CBS’ lead broadcast duo of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call those matchups.
NFL Network will take over the Thursday-night package for the second half of the season. The deal also includes two late-season Saturday games, though it’s not clear which network would air them.
“CBS is a premium content company and the NFL represents the best premium content there is,” CBS president and CEO Les Moonves says in a statement. “I look forward to all this new deal will do for us not only on Thursday nights, but across our entire schedule.”
Of course, airing NFL games for eight weeks on Thursday nights means displacing the regular CBS lineup — including ratings powerhouse “The Big Bang Theory” — for that long. Most, if not all, of CBS’ Thursday shows seem like decent bets to return for 2014-15, which would mean either some schedule shuffling or delays in premiere dates.
There has been some speculation that “Big Bang” could move back to its former Monday-night home next season to give a ratings jolt to the comedy block there. Assuming “2 Broke Girls,” “Mike & Molly” and “Mom” are renewed — which also seems likely — that would mean leaving Thursday comedies “The Millers,” “The Crazy Ones” and “Two and a Half Men” without their ratings-driving anchor once CBS’ portion of the Thursday NFL package is done.
Another viable option would be keep “Big Bang” on Thursdays and just start it and the rest of the regular lineup later in the season. The NFL games are bound to do strong ratings for the first part of fall, and later premieres mean fewer repeats in the remainder of the season.
What do you think of the move? Would you like to see “Big Bang” and CBS’ other Thursday shows move to a new night or stay put and have fewer reruns?