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CBS Going Big on Thursday Nights

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For a new show on the CBS schedule for the 2014-15 season, network executives are promising advertisers and viewers that it will be intensely dramatic, although it is not a drama series; offer compelling competitive matchups, although it is not a reality competition series; and feature famous faces, though its stars belong to no actors’ union.

The show is “Thursday Night Football,” which joins the CBS prime-time lineup on Sept. 11, the result of a deal CBS made with the National Football League for a package of games that would complement the network’s Sunday football programming. “Thursday Night Football,” presented in partnership with the league’s own NFL Network, is getting a huge promotional push from CBS.

“I don’t think the CBS Corporation has ever mounted a larger promotional campaign,” Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports, said on Monday at a “media day” event for reporters at the CBS Broadcast Center on the Manhattan’s West Side. “We’re determined to work with the N.F.L. to make sure this is a success.”

In a phone interview, George F. Schweitzer, president of the CBS Marketing Group, called the effort “the biggest promotional and marketing event we’ve had at the network.”

“No stone will be unturned, from radio, outdoor, cable, digital and interactive guides to good old TV commercials,” he said. “It’s literally around the clock,” he added, “a lot of firepower.”

On the air, CBS has, for the last two months, been running an energetic spot with the theme “Football starts here,” featuring stars of CBS entertainment series like “The Big Bang Theory,” “Elementary” and “Two and a Half Men.” Some wear eye black inscribed with the words “Thurs” and “Night” while others strip off outerwear to reveal they are wearing “Thursday Night Football” jerseys. There are also versions for local stations that are owned by CBS, among them KCBS in Los Angeles and WCBS in New York.

The network’s 200 affiliated local stations have received materials so they may produce their own versions, Mr. Schweitzer said, in which “they can cut to their weather guy taking off his shirt” to reveal the jersey.

Last week, episodes of “Big Brother,” the CBS summer reality competition series, featured a contest with a “Thursday Night Football” theme. The three winners got to leave the Big Brother house to meet members of the Dallas Cowboys and the team’s owner, Jerry Jones, at the Cowboys’ training camp in Oxnard, Calif.

Reminders about “Thursday Night Football” will also be woven into episodes of CBS’s scripted series, Mr. Schweitzer said. For instance, Boomer Esiason, an analyst on “NFL on CBS,” is to appear in an episode of “Blue Bloods,” he said, and another “NFL on CBS” analyst, Phil Simms, will get a guest spot on “Elementary.”

Viewers of CBS’s daytime lineup will find “Thursday Night Football” promoted during “The Talk” as well as during the game shows “Let’s Make a Deal” and “The Price Is Right.” And rather than tap an actor from a CBS entertainment program to host the 2014-15 edition of the network’s annual fall preview show, Mr. Schweitzer said, the host will be Jim Nantz, who will handle the play-by-play duties during “Thursday Night Football”; the preview show is to be broadcast at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern time) on Sept. 1.

The focus of the campaign is to marry “the world of sports and the world of entertainment,” Mr. Schweitzer said, to help signal that “Thursday Night Football” will be broadcast during prime-time hours normally devoted to entertainment programming rather than on Sunday afternoons.

In that regard, CBS follows in the footsteps of “Monday Night Football,” a ratings powerhouse for decades for ABC before being shifted to a sibling cable channel, ESPN, and “Sunday Night Football,” tremendously popular since it joined the NBC prime-time lineup in 2006. “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched program for the 2013-14 season, topping all the scripted and unscripted entertainment offerings on broadcast television.

According to Nielsen data, “Sunday Night Football” drew a 12.8 rating for 2013-14, meaning that 12.8 percent of all television households watched the show. The runner-up, the CBS entertainment series “NCIS,” has a 12.5 rating, Nielsen reported, followed by “The Big Bang Theory,” also on CBS, at 12.0. An average of about 22 million viewers watched each Sunday-night game, according to Nielsen, followed by about 20 million for “NCIS” and 20 million for “The Big Bang Theory.”

The sales of commercial time during the eight games that will appear on CBS under the “Thursday Night Football” banner are being handled by CBS Sports, which has been promising potential advertisers a 12.0 rating.

“The response has been very, very positive,” John Bogusz, executive vice president for sales at CBS Sports, said in an interview after the media day presentation, partly because Thursday leads “into the all-important weekend” for marketers in categories like “automobiles, movies and fast food.”

Four major marketers have signed as sponsors of “Thursday Night Football” segments, Mr. Bogusz added: Lowe’s and Verizon, for the pregame show; Lexus, for halftime; and Mazda, for the postgame show. In total, “we’ve written a good amount” of business for Thursday, he said, and “still have availability.” (Operators are standing by. Just kidding. Sort of.)

At the NFL Network, said Brian Matthews, senior vice president for media sales at the N.F.L., Lexus will also be the halftime sponsor and Mazda the postgame sponsor, with the jewelry retailer Zales as the pregame sponsor. The NFL Network will simulcast the CBS games, he added, which run through Oct. 23; the NFL Network will carry eight subsequent games on its own starting Oct. 30.

Credit to the NY Times who originally published this article

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Doug Gottlieb, Nick Wright Feud Over College Sports NIL Issues

“Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known.”

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FOX Sports hosts Doug Gottlieb and Nick Wright definitely do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to money going to college athletes.

Despite both being employed by the same company, Gottlieb, who is never afraid to voice his opinion, fired back at Wright Friday regarding his take on college football’s NIL rule in the wake of Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s claiming Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher “brought” his recruits.

On Wright’s morning show, First Things First, the colorful broadcaster had a two minute rant about how he’s happy that schools are finding workarounds under the new NIL rules implemented by the NCAA to pay the players for their name, image and likeness. He said the universities have been taking advantage of college athletes, particularly black student athletes from rough backgrounds, for years and now that the tide has shifted, people are freaking out.

“The general sports public wants extra regulations and extra rules, is keeping their thumbs on college football and basketball players because their is an undeniable and always has been an incredibly uncomfortable racial context of the guys,” Wright said. “It’s mostly young black men from mostly really tough circumstances, generating billions of dollars. Who’s sharing in that?” Wright asked.

“An overwhelmingly white administration, an overwhelmingly white coaching staff, and an overwhelmingly white non-revenue sports. How do we pay for the tennis team and golf team, ah men’s football and basketball. What do they get? A scholarship. Be happy, we pulled you out the hood. Maybe you’ll have a better life if somehow you make the league or do something with your education.”

Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known. That resulted in a back and forth between the two sports personalities on Twitter.

Gottlieb continued, claiming the NIL rule puts exceedingly high expectations on the student-athletes before ever stepping on campus and are given something without having to “earn it.”

“The sad part is this push to pay SAs before they have even played a game, taken a class or assimilated to a school sets them up for failure in their post sports career. If you have been given before you earn, where is the motivation when you get to the real world?”

Wright then took a shot at Gottlieb, saying it always feels good that his take is the complete opposite of Gottlieb’s.

The dialogue continued with Gottlieb throwing shots at Wright, calling his take “embarrassing” and mentioning how he failed to point out the educational imbalance in society during his take. Wright asked Gottlieb what are some of the other “fake racism” takes that he claims are out in the media.

Gottlieb is no stranger to conflict with his FOX Sports colleagues. Troy Aikman called his opinion on Andrew Luck’s retirement “total bullshit” in a tweet from 2019. More recently, Gottlieb got into it with Speak for Yourself co-host Emmanuel Acho after Gottlieb ripped his brother Sam’s “Top 5 QB list” on First Take. He also called out Skip Bayless for name-calling.

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Bob Cousy: ‘JJ Redick Is Untalented Using Me To Get Attention On ESPN’

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

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Celtics legend Bob Cousy was not too happy with J.J. Redick dissing his game and credibility as an all-time great player.

During an appearance on First Take, Redick got into a fiery debate with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo about whether Chris Paul deserves to be mentioned among the best point guards in NBA history despite another disappointing exit from the playoffs. Russo claimed that Paul is “no Bob Cousy” which prompted Redick to retort, saying Cousy couldn’t even dribble with his left hand and called the players he played against, “plumbers” and “firemen.”

“Bob Cousy won championships when there were eight teams in the NBA and you had to win two playoff series,” Reddick said. “Let’s celebrate Bob Cousy in his era, but you can’t compare pre-1980 with the modern NBA.”

The 93-old Cousy made an appearance on SiriusXM Radio where he went scorched earth on Redick, basically calling the ESPN analyst “untalented” while listing some of the players that he went up against in his era.

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

“So when you respond to something like this, you play into their hands. I won’t do that, but I will defend the firemen and the plumbers that he referenced. And I’ll just give you a few of the names of these firemen that I played with and against during those years. How about Bill Russell, the aforementioned, not too bad a player. Wilt Chamberlain, remember that guy? He wasn’t bad. I guess he must have fought fires as well. But in any event, Wilt Chamberlain.

“Still the best, in my judgment, small forward that ever played the game, a guy named Elgin Baylor. A couple of point guards that weren’t too shabby, my colleague who also had an award created [in his name], guy named Oscar Robertson, who was pound for pound the best player perhaps in the game.”

Chris Paul is a 12-time All-Star compared to Cousy’s 13 appearances.

One thing Paul and Bob Cousy do have in common is their aptitude for leadership. Cousy developed and started the NBA players union in 1954, being named its first president. Paul served in that same role from 2013-2021.

The two men also share similarities off the court. Cousy was a stanch anti-racist advocate during the civil rights era 50s and 60s, when it wasn’t all that popular to so. Paul has also spoke out on issues regarding race, working with commissioner Adam Silver to address some of the issues facing the black community.

Maybe the two have more in common than either Redick or Russo would like to admit.

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Cole Cubelic: ‘A Lot Of Media Wasn’t Prepared To Talk About Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher’

“There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

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The comments from Alabama football coach Nick Saban regarding other teams allegedly “buying” their players through the new rules pertaining to name, image and likeness (NIL) deals has set the college football world abuzz.

In his comments, Saban directly accused Texas A&M Head Coach and one of his former assistant coaches at Louisiana State University Jimbo Fisher of unreasonably using NIL deals to recruit college football players, and remarked that the system as a whole has created a fundamental disadvantage for certain programs. Additionally, he stated that Alabama has never tried to lure a player solely based on these deals; however, he left the door open to potentially having to adjust his recruitment strategy to align with the actions of his competitors around him.

Much of the college football world weighed in on the comments, but the voice everyone was waiting to hear was that of Jimbo Fisher, including McElroy and Cubic in the Morning on Jox 94.5 FM in Birmingham, Ala. On Friday morning, the program opened with show co-host Cole Cubelic reacting to the candid response given by Fisher in a news conference carried on multiple media outlets in which Fisher called Saban a “narcissist.”

“When we’ve had coaching feuds before, we’ve had guys go back and forth; we’ve had guys go at one another, sometimes in a little bit more of a subtle way; sometimes maybe a less-confrontational way,” Cubelic said. “Jimbo even said it yesterday – he’s not afraid of confrontation; he’s not worried about it.”

An aspect of what has made this discordance between two highly-accomplished and eminent coaches a story being followed across the college football landscape is the fact that it has taken place within the public sphere. When Saban appeared on SiriusXM Radio and apologized for singling out Texas A&M in his comments from earlier in the week, there was not much emotion involved, according to Cubelic. Fisher’s remarks in his press conference though, were of a completely different sentiment – and may have escalated the situation altogether.

“Debates often turn to arguments as soon as emotions become involved,” Cubelic said. “…Jimbo Fisher yesterday at 10 a.m. – that felt emotional; that felt personal, and that one had to dig deep. Jimbo Fisher said yesterday he doesn’t anticipate things are going to be repaired. I don’t see in a way that these two sort of get things back in line.”

“The bridge is burned both ways,” added show co-host Greg McElroy. “They’ll probably shake hands; do what they need to do pregame. But as far as any love lost? Nah, that’s a wrap.”

A part of this story that remains seminal when reporting or commenting on it is listening to the full extent of the comments from both Saban and Fisher on the situation so as to more effectively contextualize and comprehend the situation. Cubelic said that he did multiple interviews on different programs yesterday, and some of the interviewers, as he anticipated, had solely listened to portions of the comments, rendering them not completely prepared to have a truly pertinent discussion about the topic at hand.

“We said it here on the show yesterday morning — right out of the gate — people are going to take the Miami; the Jackson State; and the Texas A&M stuff, and they’re going to clip it and they’re going to play it and they’re going to read it and that’s all they’re going to pay attention to,” said Cubelic. “There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies visit Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 8 in a matchup that will sure to be a primary topic of discussion in the weeks and months leading to kickoff.

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