CBS and NFL Network to Feature Jay-Z, Rihanna in ‘Thursday Night Football’ Opening

Now the home of “Thursday Night Football,” CBS is sparing no opportunity for fanfare, with plans to open each game of the series with Jay-Z’s Grammy-winning song “Run This Town,” featuring Rihanna. The opening will also be accompanied by narration from actor Don Cheadle, setting the scene for the kick-off.

Thursday Night Football” will feature a customized opening each week that highlights the teams and division rivalries. The reel was filmed in an airplane hangar, and was produced and directed by Emmy-winning producer Pete Radovich, who also serves as CBS Sports’ creative director.

“This open combines one of music’s biggest stars with one of the most dynamic actors in Hollywood,” said Radovich. “The energy that both talents provide gives the opening to every Thursday night the big-game, primetime feel it deserves. It is a dream scenario for any director.”

The scale of the presentation, including a popular theme and recognizable names attached, is designed to rival the draw for both Sunday and Monday night football, aired on NBC and ESPN respectively. To fit “Thursday Night Football” onto the schedule CBS is shifting ratings giant “The Big Bang Theory,” as well as “The Millers,” “Two and a Half Men,” freshman comedy “The McCarthys” and “Elementary.”

The 16-game Thursday night schedule begins on September 11 with the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the Baltimore Ravens, and ends with a Saturday doubleheader on December 20.

The full slate of regular-season “Thursday Night Football” games will be produced by CBS with its team, including Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, with Tracy Wolfson reporting.

The pregame show each week will begin at 6 p.m. ET on NFL Network, with “NFL Thursday Night Kickoff” following at 7:30. The show will be simulcast on CBS and NFL Network during weeks 2-8 and will air exclusively on NFL Netwok during weeks 9-12 and 14-16.

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