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[UPDATE] CBS 'Thursday Night Football' draws 20.8 million in premiere

The Baltimore Sun

[UPDATE] The premiere of CBS "Thursday Night Football" drew an average audience 20.8 million viewers making it the second highest rated show on TV behind only NBC's "Sunday Night Football."

The size of that audience for the Ravens 26-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers is a big victory for CBS on a very large gamble that viewers were ready for another weeknight of primetime football.

CBS is charging advertisers the second highest ad rate on TV, $500,000 for a 30-second spot, by promising the Thursday night games will draw 20 million viewers combined with the simulcast on the NFL Network.

"The debut of Thursday Night Football on network television exceeded our expectations," Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports, said in a statement Friday. "From a ratings, sales and production standpoint, we could not be more pleased with the success of last night's telecast and our partnership with the NFL Network."

The telecast drew more young male viewers to CBS than any regular series that aired on network since 2001.

In terms of adults 18 to 49 and 25 to 54, it was the best showing by CBS since 2006.

These are outstanding ratings. If they hold for the next seven games on CBS, this is going to be one of the best programming moves ever made by the network.

Read my review of the teelcast here.

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