I’ll say this about what a huge sports fan award-winning actor and House of Lies star Don Cheadle is: when I looked him up in our photo database, there were copious options of Cheadle enjoying multiple sports to select from. Baseball, golf, basketball… you name it. I just went with my own personal biases taking him throwing out the first pitch at a Met game last season.
Cheadle appears the perfect person, in that case, to narrate CBS and NFL Network’s opening feature for Thursday Night Football in 2014. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that House of Lies airs on Showtime, a corporate partner of CBS. The Golden Globe winner will be heard before every CBS/NFL Net broadcast this season on Thursdays, asking the carefully mandated phrase “who will run this town?”
That’s because the networks are going with the slightly dated, but nonetheless effective “Run this Town,” Jay-Z’s 2009 collaboration with Kanye West and, importantly for this feature, Rihanna. It appears clear that Rihanna’s soaring chorus will be the most prominent part of CBS’ opening segment, to fit with the theme that Cheadle sets via narration.
Pete Radovich, who has won only 28 Emmys for his work in sports TV, produced and directed the spot, which was filmed in an airplane hanger. The idea seems to be to make this feel as big as possible as CBS looks to elevate Thursday Night Football when it takes over the now-shared franchise on Thursday, September 11th for Steelers-Ravens. Looks like all the pieces are there to create a more effective opening than what NFL Net has used in the past.