In 2005, NBC outbid Disney-owned ESPN for the rights to air Sunday Night Football for the upcoming 2006 season. As the last-place network, NBC hoped primetime football would boost ratings. Disney-owned ABC was the top network because of popular dramas and did not see Monday Night Football as a ratings draw. Disney moved Monday Night Football to ESPN, as the cable network paid for the expensive franchise with both advertising and subscriber fees. The NBC contract runs through 2022.
Much of the staff of both Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football moved to NBC to continue with the network prime-time broadcast. The initial on-air pairing of Al Michaels and John Madden came directly from ABC's Monday Night Football. Cris Collinsworth replaced Madden when Madden retired after the 2008 season. Bob Costas, providing commentary before the game and during half-time, has been controversial at times, such as with a segment on gun control after the Jovan Belcher suicide, making the show itself news.
In 2015, Sunday Night Football is the top-rated primetime television series, more than 28 percent higher than the next ranked show. Boosted mainly by Sunday Night Football, as of November 2015, NBC is the top-rated network among the valued 18 to 49 demographic for six of the seven fall weeks.