CBS to Pull Opening Act Featuring Rihanna Song for Ravens vs. Steelers Game

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IISeptember 11, 2014

AP Images

In the wake of all of the news surrounding Ray Rice and the NFL, CBS has officially made some changes to its pregame show before the Baltimore Ravens play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football.

Pulling Rihanna's debut theme song, "Run This Town," from the broadcast is stealing some thunder from the network's prime-time coverage. 

Update: Sept. 16, at 12:12 p.m. ET 

The Associated Press reported that CBS has decided to move on from Rihanna following the singer's Twitter outburst against the network on Tuesday. 

Here's what AP reported: "The network said Tuesday it was permanently editing a song featuring Rihanna's voice out of its Thursday night NFL telecasts—after the singer issued a profane tweet about it."

--End of Update--

Update: Sept. 16, at 11:45 a.m. ET

CBS has adjusted its plans for this week's Thursday night game after seeing Rihanna lash out at the network on Twitter on Tuesday, according to The New York Times' Bill Carter. 

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Bill Carter @wjcarter

After Rihanna protest, CBS will drop her song from opening of Thu Night Football thos week.

Bill Carter @wjcarter

CBS will replace Rihanna song w theme music created internally; rest of planned opening will appear, w actor Don Cheadle the centerpiece.

--End of Update-- 

Update: Sept. 16, at 10 a.m. ET

Rihanna has finally spoken out on her song being pulled:

via @rihanna
Rihanna @rihanna

The audacity...

[Rihanna, h/t USA Today]

--End of Update--

According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, CBS will replace its original pregame show with a report from CBS This Morning anchor Norah O'Donnell, who interviewed commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday after the tape of Rice hitting his now-wife surfaced.

O'Donnell will be on set with James Brown in Baltimore as they cover all of the news regarding the Rice situation that has been released during the week.

Deitsch also wrote that a pregame segment featuring Don Cheadle and Rihanna was pulled as well a comedy sketch that was set to be part of the opener.

Brett Malec from E! Online reported that Rihanna was set to debut the new CBS Thursday Night Football theme song, but her and Jay Z's song "Run This Town" will not be playing before Thursday's kickoff.

Ann Killion from the San Francisco Chronicle tweeted that Rihanna's segment had been pulled:

Ann Killion @annkillion

Rhianna pulled from game tonight. Not sure what the rationale for that will be. More earmuffs.

Rihanna was the victim of a well-publicized domestic abuse incident involving then-boyfriend Chris Brown back in 2009.  

TMZ Sports thought the connection had something to do with Rihanna being pulled from the pregame, writing: "But with the Ray Rice scandal in full swing, it's clear CBS didn't want to feature another celebrity who was involved in a high-profile domestic violence incident."

"It's important to realize we are not overacting to this story but it is as big a story as has faced the NFL," CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told Deitsch. "We thought journalistically and from a tone standpoint, we needed to have the appropriate tone and coverage. A lot of the production elements we wanted in the show are being eliminated because of time or tone."


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