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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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CBS snags Thursday-night NFL games this fall

The NFL's Thursday night football package is going to CBS - partly.

The league and the network announced that CBS will air eight early-season games, which will be simulcast on the NFL Network. CBS will also produce eight more games - six on Thursday nights; two on Saturdays - that will air only on the NFL Network.

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Jim Nantz will do the play-by-play for all 16 games, with Phil Simms providing the color commentary.

It's no surprise that any network would want more NFL games. And just about all the broadcast networks and many cable networks went after this Thursday-night package.

But CBS would seem to need it less, at least on Thursdays. There was no immediate announcement of what will become of the network's Thursday-night shows - from "The Big Bang Theory" to "Elementary" - but either they will premiere in November or move to other nights.

Here is the CBS/NFL release:

NFL PARTNERS WITH CBS ON 2014 THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PACKAGE

CBS and NFL Network to Each Televise Eight Games

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms to Broadcast Thursday Night Games

NEW YORK - The National Football League will team with long-time broadcast partner CBS to produce and televise Thursday Night Football for the 2014 season, it was announced today by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, CBS Corporation President and CEO Leslie Moonves and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus.

CBS will air eight early season games that also will be simulcast on NFL Network. NFL Network will also televise eight late-season games in the run-up to the playoffs. The mix of games will include 14 on Thursday nights and two late-season games on Saturday.

The full slate of 16 regular-season games will be produced by CBS with its lead broadcasters and production team, including Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, on all Thursday night games. In a new twist, NFL Network hosts and analysts will be featured in the pregame, halftime and postgame shows along with CBS Sports announcers.

The agreement is for the 2014 season with an additional year at the NFL's option.

"NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans," said Goodell. "Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility for Thursday Night Football on CBS."

"We are very pleased to build on our outstanding partnership with the NFL by expanding our coverage to Thursday nights," said Moonves. "CBS is a premium content company and the NFL represents the best premium content there is. I look forward to all this new deal will do for us not only on Thursday nights, but across our entire schedule."

"The NFL is the most powerful programming in television," said McManus. "To add a primetime NFL package to our successful Sunday AFC package further strengthens our position in the sports marketplace. We look forward to having Jim and Phil and our top production team showcased in primetime on Thursday nights."



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