CBS Cuts Rihanna Song From Thursday Night Football Opening, Because Ray Rice
Rick Chandler 07:15 pm, September 11th, 2014
Tonight's Thursday Night Football opening on CBS was going to feature a segment with Don Cheadle doing narration over Rihanna's “Run This Town" ... but if you were looking forward to that, sorry. It's now gone.
Pretty much the entire pregame show has been restructured, said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. Also cut from the broadcast opening (7:30 p.m. ET tonight) is football chatter about the Ravens and Steelers with James Brown, Bill Cowher, Deion Sanders and members of NFL Network. It will be replaced by an extended interview between Brown and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti.
There will also be a pregame with a report from CBS This Morning anchor Norah O’Donnell, who interviewed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday.
The broadcast as planned was surely doomed when news broke that the NFL indeed had received the Ray Rice elevator video, contradicting what Goodell had said to CBS on Tuesday. The perfect storm of awkwardness also included the fact that Rihanna was herself the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of Chris Brown, who in 2009 pleaded guilty to felony assault. And of course the fact that the Ravens are playing.
It’s important to realize we are not overreacting to this story but it is as big a story as has faced the NFL,” McManus told SI.com from Baltimore Thursday afternoon. “We thought journalistically and from a tone standpoint, we needed to have the appropriate tone and coverage. A lot of the production elements we wanted in the show are being eliminated because of time or tone.”