CBS Axes 'Thursday Night Football' Opener After Rihanna Tweets
CBS decided to permanently axe its "Thursday Night Football" opener that featured Rihanna's "Run This Town" following Tweets sent by the pop star criticizing the eye network for pulling the song last week.
"Beginning this Thursday, we will be moving in a different direction with some elements of our Thursday Night Football open. We will be using our newly created Thursday Night Football theme music to open our game broadcast," a CBS spokeswoman said via email.
Earlier this morning Rihanna took to Twitter to express her anger over "Run This Town" not being used, as planned, during last week's game.
CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, Fuck you! Y'all are sad for penalizing me for this.— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 16, 2014
The audacity...— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 16, 2014
CBS pulled the opener of Don Cheadle narrating the "Run This Town" video, during the debut of "Thursday Night Football" on the network last week. Thursday's match up was between Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, where Ray Rice had played until TMZ posted a video that appeared to show him punching his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator. The Ravens released Mr. Rice last week.
In deciding to scrap the opener and replace it with a CBS News interview with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, CBS said it was seeking to strike an appropriate tone considering the week's news. At the time, it said the opener would return for subsequent games.
While CBS made no mention of Rihanna's own history of domestic abuse, "Run This Town" could have also reminded viewers of the felony charges against Chris Brown after he attacked Rihanna in 2009.
Other elements of the opener included a comedy video, which also did not air.
CBS declined to comment further on why it decided to eliminate the opener entirely.
The Ray Rice controversy didn't impact viewership last week. The debut of "Thursday Night Football" on CBS and NFL Network averaged 20.8 million viewers, trouncing the 11 million viewers that watched the season opener in the year prior, when it was only available on NFL Network.