Editorially speaking, CBS’s decision to move the NCAA Tournament Selection Show to a two hour program was a terrible one. Maybe one of the worst across the board in all of sports television. CBS turned a night of excitement, emotion, and intrigue into a night of agonizing torture. They managed to botch what should be one of the easiest shows to pull off – release the bracket… then talk about it.
The reaction to the selection process dragging on throughout the evening instead of past years when CBS revealed the 68 team bracket in much quicker fashion was that of complete disenchantment. Roger Goodell looks popular in comparison to the backlash CBS faced last night.
And now from a ratings perspective, the decision looks just as bad. SBJ’s Austin Karp reports that the Selection Show drew some of its lowest ratings in the past two decades:
CBS drew a 3.7 overnight rating for NCAA Selection Show. Lowest in around 20 years. First-ever 2-hour format in 2016. Also had bracket leak.
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) March 14, 2016
We’d have to wait until the numbers are broken down even further, but it’s an educated guess to say that the leak of the bracket on social media rightly led many frustrated viewers to turn away from CBS. Either that, or they just got fed up with having to sit and wait around for so long watching Charles Barkley fiddle around with a touchscreen. It was a deserved slap in the face for the way CBS mishandled the announcement.
And while the fan outcry might not be enough to get CBS to change course for next year, maybe the low ratings will convince them that sometimes less is more and the one hour Selection Show is the way to go.