UPDATE: 12:43 AM: Roc Nation revoked CBS’ license to use Jay-Z tune “Run This Town” for its Thursday Night Football package because of the network’s “misuse and misrepresentation of Rihanna’s name and participation in connection to the Thursday football package,” among other offenses it cited, prompting CBS to announce today it was “going in another direction” with its football opener.
“Beginning this Thursday, we will be moving in a different direction with some elements of our Thursday Night Football open,” CBS Sports said in a statement. “We will be using our newly created Thursday Night Football theme music to open our game broadcast.”
CBS Sports last week decided not to use a planned music intro for its debut of TNF — the Jay-Z tune sung by Rihanna, which was to have been accompanied by Don Cheadle narrating. That game featured the Steelers and the Ravens, whose star running back Ray Rice was cut days earlier after TMZ released the elevator video in which he clocked his now-wife. CBS said at the time it was cutting the originally planned opening package to make room for news updates on the Rice/NFL situation, which seemed appropriate given that the Ravens were playing that night. Additionally, media had been navel-lint-gazing in re the appropriateness of starting that particular game with a Rihanna-sung tune, given that the singer is one of the best known celebrity survivors of domestic violence.
And yet, last week’s decision by CBS did not sit well with Rihanna, who told the network so in a strongly worded tweet sent out this morning, in which she accused CBS of having “penalized” her with last week’s decision. JayZ-founded Roc Nation counts Rihanna among its signed clients; Roc Nation issued a statement saying: “Due to the misuse and misrepresentation of Rihanna’s name and participation in connection to CBS’ ‘Thursday Night Football,’ CBS was not allowed to license and utilize the song ‘Run This Town.’ Roc Nation made the decision to not grant the song’s usage.” Since CBS also is producing NFL network’s Thursday game coverage, it means the tune will not be heard/seen on that network’s coverage.
Does this mean we can cross Rihanna’s name of the list of potential Super Bowl halftime show performers?
PREVIOUSLY, 8:37 AM: Rihanna is not amused that CBS decided to pull the tune that was to have opened its debuting Thursday Night Football package last week, in order to open the coverage more somberly with reports on the NFL’s suspension of Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice. This, after video of him clocking his now-wife in an elevator back in February got issued publicly by TMZ.
CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, Fuck you! Y’all are sad for penalizing me for this.
— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 16, 2014
… she tweeted, adding this for good measure:
— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 16, 2014
Last Thursday, in lieu of comedy bits and a narration about the two teams playing — including the Ravens — by Showtime star Don Cheadle, which viewers would have heard over a Jay-Z tune sung by Rihanna, CBS kicked off its Thursday NFL package with an update on the league scandal that cost Ray Rice his Baltimore Ravens running back gig and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a good deal of credibility.
CBS had said at that time that it would use the tune for the remainder of its Thursday football package.
CBS decided to change the tone and format of the pregame show to a more serious one, including a report form CBS News, an interview with the Baltimore Ravens owner, and comments from Norah O’Donnell, who did CBS News’ exclusive interview on the Rice situation with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that aired in two parts last week.
The “Run This Town” track had been licensed for use during Thursday night NFL games and the NFL announced it earlier this month, saying, “CBS Sports and NFL Network will open each game of Thursday Night Football in 2014 with Jay-Z’s Grammy Award-winning song, “Run This Town” featuring megastar Rihanna.”
Rihanna is among the music performers reportedly in talks with the NFL about performing at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. She also is maybe one of the best known survivors of domestic violence — famously becoming a no-show for CBS’ own broadcast of the Grammys back in 2009 because she’d been beaten up by boyfriend Chris Brown at a pre-Grammy party the previous night.