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CBS' Moonves Says No Advertisers Have Pulled Out of NFL

By Published on .

NFL ratings are down but still huge, and not down as much as the rest of TV.
NFL ratings are down but still huge, and not down as much as the rest of TV. Credit: Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves is still bullish on the National Football League.

Despite a decline in ratings this season as well as political controversy that has plagued the league, CBS CEO Moonves said during the network's quarterly earnings call that it "it's still the best game in town" for advertisers.

Papa John's CEO John Schnatter this week blamed declining pizza sales on NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem to protest social injustice and inequality.

"Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership," Schnatter said on a conference call with investors Wednesday. "The NFL has hurt Papa John's shareholders."

But Moonves said during today's call that he doesn't know of one sponsor who has pulled spots from the NFL.

"It's still the best thing on TV," Moonves said. "Ratings are still extraordinarily high."

NFL viewership is down 5% for the first seven weeks of the season, but that's better the big four broadcast networks' overall prime-time performance in their season so far.

CBS also announced said it will make a new version of "The Twilight Zone" for its direct-to-consumer subscription service CBS All Access. That follows the introduction of a new "Star Trek" series, which debuted last month and has already been renewed for a second season.

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