By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
ABC will simulcast 10 additional Monday Night Football games this season with its sister network, ESPN, the network announced today. The move is designed to bolster ABC’s primetime lineup during the ongoing actors and writers strike. The networks have been searching for creative ways to keep viewers entertained with less original content available. For example, CBS last night aired the season one premiere of Yellowstone, the Paramount Network’s hit show starring Kevin Costner, with future episodes airing on CBS on Sunday nights when there isn’t an NFL doubleheader.
ESPN, which took over the Monday Night Football broadcasts in 2006 after it was an ABC exclusive for the first 35 seasons, will air the Saints-Panthers game tonight at 7:15 p.m. ET while ABC will show the Browns-Steelers at 8;15 p.m. ET. Next Monday (September 25), ABC will air the Tampa Bay-Philadelphia game at 7:15 p.m. ET while ESPN will show the Rams-Bengals at 8:15 p.m. ET.
Then, on October 2, 10 weeks of ESPN/ABC simulcasts will begin with the Seahawks-Giants game at 8:15 p.m. ET. The network said Dancing with the Stars will be moved to Tuesday nights to accommodate the football games. Bachelor in Paradise and The Golden Bachelor will move to Thursday nights starting September 28.
Disney, which owns ESPN and ABC, is announcing the simulcast initiative just a week after it settled an 11-day carriage dispute with Charter’s Spectrum TV. During the blackout, the cable op’s subscribers were without ESPN in every market it serves but was only missing ABC in seven markets.
Here are the 10 MNF games that will be simulcast on both ABC and ESPN:
Seahawks at Giants on October 2
Packers at Raiders on October 9
Cowboys at Chargers on October 16
49ers at Vikings on October 23
Raiders at Lions on October 30
Chargers at Jets on November 6
Broncos at Bills on November 13
Bears at Vikings on November 27
Bengals at Jaguars on December 4
Chiefs at Patriots on December 18
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— Phillip Swann