We all applauded CBS on Sunday for cutting its NCAA Tournament Selection Show from two hours to 90 minutes and releasing the bracket within the first half of the show. It seemed like basic common sense that viewers shouldn’t have to slog through such an unwieldy bracket reveal.

CBS’ reward for that customer service?

Terrible ratings.

That drop from 5.246 million viewers to 4.883 represents a hefty 7 percent decline, which we can safely attribute in part to the shorter show. Yes, you probably complained about the length of the show in 2016, but there’s a good chance you kept watching anyway.

According to Sports Business Daily’s Austin Karp, this is the first time the selection show has ever dipped below 5 million viewers.

Then again, some of the ratings decline may have been backlash to the slog of the 2016 show. Some viewers might have been so bitter over how long last year’s reveal took that they didn’t both tuning in this year.

Besides, ratings are not the end-all for a television network. In 2016, the exhaustingly long show and the bracket leak that came with it were bad PR for CBS, and the network would probably prefer not to have everyone on social media carping about how annoying the program is. On the other hand… attracting viewers is kind of the whole point.

From a fan’s perspective, you hope CBS will suck up the low rating and keep the selection show at 90 minutes next year, even if that means dragging out the reveal a little more.

Though we wouldn’t mind a return of Charles Barkley on the touchscreen.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com, the Hartford Courant, Baseball Prospectus, Land of 10 and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    Biggest drop was among CBS core of Men 50+

    • ItsBlackjack115

      Oh No! That’s CBS’s main demographic! The future does not bode well for its procedural comedies and dramas.

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    More damning, Big Ten Championship game lead-in was up +10% in average audience vs. ’16

  • ItsBlackjack115

    The ratings drop was a result of last year’s handling. You can’t get viewers to come back immediately after it turns out CBS didn’t screw up again, by then the brackets are set and it will be too late. Some people would like to watch a good trainwreck, but not a bad one. I predict viewership will go back up next year.

  • Shawn Diiorio

    Honestly thought it was much better than last year’s. The selection announcement was done about as well as I had hoped they would have done it.

  • Corey

    No good deed goes unpunished, I suppose.

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