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“CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, F— you! Y’all are sad for penalizing me for this,” Rihanna tweeted Tuesday morning. She followed that with another tweet that read simply, “The audacity…”
CBS had planned to open last week’s Thursday Night Football broadcast of a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens with a Don Cheadle voiceover to “Run This Town,” by Jay Z, Kanye West and Rihanna. Instead, that and other elements of the preshow were scrapped and the intro took on a serious, newsy tone as the domestic violence scandal involving former Ravens running back Ray Rice continued to unfold.
Many had pointed out that Rihanna, who was famously abused by Chris Brown, was an unfortunate choice to open the game. (Brown later linked his attack on Rihanna to the Rice incident by offering advice to the suspended player.)
But CBS and the NFL’s announcement earlier this month that it planned to open its Thursday Night Football broadcasts with “Run This Town” suggested that the song would be used in subsequent games. Now, according to a spokesperson, CBS is scrapping its plans to use the song. The Don Cheadle voiceover will remain a part of the Thursday Night Football opening.
“Beginning this Thursday, we will be moving in a different direction with some elements of our Thursday Night Football open,” the network’s sports division said in a statement. “We will be using our newly created Thursday Night Football theme music to open our game broadcast.”
Rihanna’s label, Roc Nation, countered CBS in a statement contending “misrepresentation” by the network in dealing with the song.
“Due to the misuse and misrepresentation of Rihanna’s name and participation in connection to CBS’ TNF, 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,” said Roc Nation in a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon.
The NFL has not yet responded to The Hollywood Reporter‘s request for comment. This Thursday’s game features the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
8:37 a.m., Sept 16 This story has been updated to include a statement from CBS Sports and the information that it no longer plans to use “Run This Town.”
8:55 a.m., Sept 16 This story has been updated to indicate that Don Cheadle’s voiceover will still be a part of the opening.
1:31 p.m., Sept. 16 This story has been updated with a statement from Roc Nation.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek