CBS pulls Rihanna opening song from Ravens telecast

The Baltimore Sun

In reaction to fallout from the Ray Rice video posted Monday on TMZ, CBS Sports has pulled its scheduled opening song by Rihanna from tonight's premiere of "Thursday Night Football" featuring the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The telecast was supposed to open each week with Jay-Z's Grammy-winning "Run This Town" performed by Rihanna. It's the CBS answer to NBC's "Waiting All Day For Sunday Night" with Carrie Underwood. The opening was to also include narration from actor Don Cheadle highlighting the rivalry between the two teams and their towns.

The entire segment, as well as a comedy spot that had been planned, has been pulled, and the opening will instead feature CBS News anchor Nora O'Donnell talking about her interview with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, according to SI.com.

The pre-game show is also slated to include an interview by CBS Sports host James Brown with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti.

“It’s important to realize we are not overreacting to this story, but it is as big a story as has faced the NFL,” CBS chairman Sean McManus told SI.com late Thursday. “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."

The Rice video, from an Atlantic City casino,  shows him punching then-fiancee Janay Palmer, whom he has since married. Some observers Thursday had noted that Rihanna, too, had been injured in a high-profile domestic abuse incident with Chris Brown.

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