With Ray Rice News, James Brown and Scott Pelley Kick-Off Thursday Night Football

By Chris Ariens 

PelleyBrownInstead of Rihanna and Jay-Z opening CBS’s premiere Thursday Night Football, CBS’s James Brown and Scott Pelley did the honors.

“Circumstances surrounding the evolving Ray Rice story is where we must begin,” Brown said at the top of the 7:30pmET pre-show, then tossing to “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley in New York who updated viewers on the case.

CBS had planned to run a segment featuring Rihanna singing the Jay Z song “Run This Town,” but that was cut in lieu of the Rice news. A few minutes later, “CBS This Morning” anchor Norah O’Donnell joined Brown on set in Baltimore. O’Donnell interviewed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this week, but since then new news has come out that Rice told Goodell he hit his then-fiancee, that February night in Atlantic City, videotaped evidence of which thrust the story back on the front page this week.

As for CBS’ first Thursday Night Football (8-11pmET), the network is thrilled with the ratings outcome. The overnight ratings show a primetime household rating/share of 12.9/22, +215% higher than the comparable CBS primetime programming a year ago. This was CBS’ best primetime Thursday delivery since May 18, 2006.

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