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Upfronts 2012: NBC giving thanks for Patriots-Jets

May 14, 2012 | 12:26 pm

Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets

With the NFL games consistently drawing big audiences, NBC is riding the pigskin for all it's worth.

The network will air 19 games this season, one more than in recent years. The extra contest will come on Thanksgiving, when the Jets and Patriots will square off in prime time. The Turkey Day game for the last six years has aired on the NFL Network.

At its upfront presentation in New York on Monday, the network promoted Sunday night match-ups such as the Lions and Packers and Steelers and Broncos and said that each of the 12 teams that made the playoffs last year will have at least one Sunday night appearance.

VIDEO: Watch 2012 TV previews

The NFL season kicks off on NBC with the Cowboys and Giants on Wednesday, Sept. 5. The unusual midweek slot comes as a result of the Democratic National Convention, whose linchpin speech from President Obama is set for Thursday, Sept. 6.

The network touted its Sunday night telecast and its "Football Night in America," with the games surpassing "American Idol" in overall viewers as well as in the 18-49 demographic this year for the first time.

"In six years, the NFL and NBC have carved out a whole new American tradition," said NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus.


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-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets. Credit: NBC/Paul Drinkwater