ABC Television Network has now made a complete virtual return to its NFL roots -- adding a full schedule of “Monday Night Football” games this season.
Originally, ABC planned to air just four exclusive games this season, and five simulcast with ESPN. The big sports cable network has had the exclusive rights to the franchise solely since 2006 -- with some exemptions to a few ABC simulcast game airings.
ABC made the move due to the ongoing actors/writers strikes which has hampered the network’s ability to air new fall scripted programming. Other networks have had to make their own adjustments to their primetime programming lineup.
The first “Monday Night Football” game of this season -- aired a week ago -- totaled 22.6 million Nielsen-measured viewers across for Disney-owned Networks -- ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes.
It was the most-watched game since ESPN took over the franchise in 2006.
The ABC Television Network aired “MNF” from its inception in 1971 through 2005. The move means ABC has a game in all 18 weeks of the regular season, which include two simulcast playoff games.