By Harry Allison
Consider this an admission that CBS and Turner made a huge mistake last year:
The Sunday NCAA tournament selection show was moved away from CBS, where it had aired for the previous 36 years, and instead shown on TBS. It was extended from one hour to two hours. And perhaps most jolting was the format: The 68 teams were announced alphabetically before the full bracket was unveiled.
The alterations were not well received by the viewing public, with complaints focusing on the show’s length and the interminable wait to see the full bracket. Indeed, the reviews were not great, to say the least.
So and Turner announced a return to the traditional format on the traditional network. CBS will host the selection show at 6 p.m. on Sunday night. The show will last one hour, and the brackets will be unveiled at the top of the program. Greg Gumbel will host the show, along with analysts Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis.
“Being very honest, we tried something new and we were not serving the viewer as well as we could,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said on Tuesday. “It was an honest effort on our part and on Turner’s part to do that. But the feedback we got was, ‘Give us the brackets as quickly as you can.’ It’s as simple as that. I think it’s the right thing to do.”
He added: “It is a selection show, and the purpose of the selection show is really the brackets. So why delay that?”
Moving the show to cable last year also played a part in a 52 percent drop in ratings. The selection show drew a 1.6 household rating last year according to Nielsen figures, down from a 3.3 the previous year.