You remember last year’s NCAA Tournament Selection Show on CBS, that elongated two-hour sojourn complete with Charles Barkley’s unsuccessful attempts to use a touchscreen. Well this year’s version has been cut by a half-hour meaning it will last a total of 90 minutes.
Last year’s show took over an hour and ten minutes to reveal the entire 68-team field. And because it took so long, the show suffered a Wikileaks-type breach when the field was leaked on Twitter. CBS promises to reveal the brackets quicker and much earlier this year.
CBS Sports head Sean McManus said during the CBS/Turner NCAA Tournament media day that the 90-minute show will lead to a tighter program that will be “crisper” and “better” for viewers. The show will run from 5:30-7 p.m. ET.
In 2016, CBS and Turner decided to double the time from its traditional one-hour length to two hours in hopes of increasing the drama and adding more time for interviews. But the show ended up being a trainwreck and the NCAA vowed that it would fix the issues that led to viewer complaints.
Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis will be based at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York while Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny “The Jet” Smith will provide analysis from Turner Sports’ headquarters in Atlanta.
The idea to chop 30 minutes off this year’s show was met with approval by none other than the Chuckster:
“I think (the Selection Sunday Show) is only going to be better. Instead of just wasting time, you just get to the show. I mean, it doesn’t have to take two hours,” Barkley told Sporting News during a CBS-Turner press event here Tuesday. “Last year we got screwed by (the leaker) releasing the brackets. So that didn’t help. I think 90 minutes is fine, man. You don’t have to drag it out for two hours. That’s going to be good.”
CBS promises that the reveal of the brackets will occur in the first half of the program. Harold Bryant, executive producer and senior vice president of CBS Sports says this year’s Selection Show will give the viewers what they want:
“By revealing the brackets quicker, it’s going to leave us a good chunk of time on the back end to talk about the matchups and the bubble teams and the No. 1 seeds,” he said. “We just didn’t feel the two-hour block was needed. Once you get them out there, you can dive right in.”
It means that you’ll see the four regions unveiled in the first four blocks and the talk will be left for the rest of the program. Hopefully, the decision to streamline the Selection Show will lead to better television for all of us.