TCA: CBS in ‘Wait and See’ Mode for NFL Thursday Deal

Complete Coverage: TCA Winter Press Tour

CBS is in “wait and see” mode in terms of the future of Thursday Night Football, said Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports. In late December, the NFL sent a request for proposal to the various networks, asking them for their bids along with their promotional and production plans, and making it clear that the eight-game package would either be exclusive or be split among networks.

“We haven’t heard anything back yet,” said McManus. “They’re still looking at the proposals.”

McManus said he expected to hear “fairly soon after the Super Bowl”, based on previous years.

The package’s success on CBS may make the network a favorite, but has certainly elevated the cost of the games. “I think we’ve been great partners with the NFL, and they have been great partners of ours,” said McManus.

Asked about players disliking participating in the game, Phil Simms said the assertion is “totally not true at all,” as the athletes only have to do it once a season, and enjoy a few extra days off after the game. “They look at the Thursday Night Football game as, it’s gonna be tough, but man is that gonna be great,” he said.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.