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Earlier this season, the NFL and ESPN reached an eight-year extension to keep “Monday Night Football” on the cable channel through the 2021 season.

CBS, Fox and NBC will each televise three Super Bowls during the term of the contracts, continuing the current rotation.

The nine-year terms are the longest for NFL television agreements with over-the-air broadcast networks. The previous longest were the eight-year deals with CBS, Fox and ABC from 1998 to 2005.

CBS will continue to show the AFC package Sunday afternoons, as it has since 1998, while Fox still has the NFC package it first acquired in 1994.

“Sunday Night Football” will remain on NBC, which picked it up in 2006. The network will add the annual Thanksgiving prime-time game starting in 2012.

Flexible scheduling will stay in effect to ensure quality late-season matchups on Sunday late afternoons and nights. It will be expanded in 2014, with the details yet to be worked out.

Movie stars get SAG nods for TV roles

“It’s no surprise to see Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates and Maggie Smith among a list of acting nominees. What is a bit of a shock is to find them all being recognized for their work in television. This year’s SAG Awards nominations feature a large group of actors well known for their film work (some of whom have won Oscars) landing nominations for their efforts in television,” the Los Angeles Times’ Nicole Sperling wrote on the newspaper’s movie blog, 24 Frames.

“It reinforces the power shift that’s been occurring between TV and film for the last decade, with more and more distinguished talent opting for the small screen.

“Winslet received a SAG Award nomination for her work in HBO’s ‘Mildred Pierce,’ while her work in Roman Polanski’s film ‘Carnage’ was ignored. Glenn Close received two nods, one for her passion-film project ‘Albert Nobbs’ and another for her TV role as Patty Hewes in the drama series ‘Damages.’

“Diane Lane, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in 2002’s ‘Unfaithful,’ landed a SAG nomination on Wednesday for her work in the TV movie ‘Cinema Verite,’ which centered on America’s first reality-TV family, the Louds. Two-time Oscar winner Smith was recognized by SAG for her work in ‘Downton Abbey,’ while two-time Oscar nominee Emily Watson secured a nomination for her role in Sundance Channel’s ‘Appropriate Adult.’

HBO’s ‘Too Big to Fail,’ a recent series on the crisis in the U.S. banking system, featured past Oscar nominees Paul Giamatti and James Woods; both got SAG nominations on Wednesday. (Woods, who’s been nominated for Oscars twice in his career, received a SAG nomination for his role as Richard Fuld while Giamatti, who received an Oscar nomination for ‘Cinderella Man,’ played Ben Bernanke.) Greg Kinnear, nominated for an Oscar in 1998, landed a SAG nod for his role in the controversial miniseries ‘The Kennedys.’

“With actors being afforded such a wide swath of opportunities in television — from playing period characters to presidents — it’s little surprise the medium is attracting such high-caliber performers.”

Oprah’s new network takes on major challenges

” ‘Oprah’s Next Chapter’ debuts Jan. 1, the first anniversary of Winfrey’s cable channel, but with executive turnover, $254 million spent and increased pressure to raise carriage fees, insiders reveal a network with big challenges.

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