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CBS scores huge ratings with Thursday Night Football

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- CBS scored huge ratings for its Thursday Night Football broadcast of the Baltimore Ravens versus the Pittsburgh Steelers amid the Ray Rice controversy.


The game was the strongest Thursday night primetime performance for CBS since May 18th, 2006. Viewership jumped 108% from the same broadcast a year ago (which to be fair was shown on the cable-based NFL Network).


The publicity surrounding the Ray Rice incident probably helped CBS's ratings by drawing attention to this week's game. With the Ravens taking center stage just days after the team's star running back was cut from the team and suspended indefinitely by the NFL, the broadcast became a must-watch event for both fans and non-fans alike.


The network acknowledged the issue a couple of hours before the game kicked off by scrapping an opening segment featuring Rihanna, who has herself been a victim of domestic abuse.


\"CBS Evening News\" anchor Scott Pelley opened the broadcast with a rundown of the day's developments on the matter while \"CBS This Morning\" co-host Norah O'Donnell appeared on the sidelines, which made the program feel more like news coverage than a pre-game show for the NFL.


CBS beat out other networks for the $275 million contract to air Thursday's game, and the strong ratings show that bet paid off. 

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