CBS' Duke-UNC 3.2 overnight is best for college basketball this season
CBS earned a 3.2 overnight Nielsen rating Saturday night for North Carolina's 81-67 win over Duke in the net's first primetime regular-season college basketball broadcast. The rating is up 88% from the comparable North Carolina-Duke game in '10, which aired on a Saturday night on ESPN. The game earned the highest overnight rating for a regular-season game on any network since CBS' broadcast of Duke-North Carolina in '09, which brought in a 3.4 overnight. Dating back to the start of '11, CBS has averaged a 3.3 final Nielsen rating during the 8:00-10:00pm ET window on Saturday nights, which has consisted primarily of hour-long episodes of "Crimetime Saturday" (THE DAILY). In St. Petersburg, Rodney Page notes Duke-North Carolina brought CBS' "A-team of Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg," who "work well together." They "don't talk over each other, and they go with the flow of the game." The game "was all North Carolina, but the duo provided enough information to keep fans on both sides of this bitter rivalry satisfied." Meanwhile, CBS this weekend aired college basketball tripleheaders both Saturday and Sunday, which was "good preparation for the NCAA Tournament" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/7).
A POTENTIAL "HEIDI" MOMENT: In K.C., Mike DeArmond reported with less than four minutes remaining in CBS' broadcast of Kansas-Missouri Saturday, viewers in K.C., Columbia and Springfield "were switched to the start of the Michigan-Michigan State game." Viewers in St. Louis, Wichita and Topeka -- "after a brief interruption -- saw the end" of Kansas-Missouri. CBS Exec Dir of Communications Jerry Caraccioli said the problem was a "combination of sunspots and a satellite transponder issue." K.C.'s KCTV after the game "ran an onscreen crawl that said the decision was made by CBS Sports at a national level." An apology was later posted on the station's website that noted CBS Sports "experienced technical difficulties out of our control." KCTV VP & GM Bobby Totsch said that there was a "sunspot blackout of the satellite feed but that instead of receiving a backup Kansas-Missouri feed, KCTV got another game instead." Totsch: "Over the next several minutes, many stations did get their feed back. We tried to compensate, but were unable to get the correct feed back in time." DeArmond noted KCTV "re-aired the second half of the game after its 10 pm Saturday newscast" (K.C. STAR, 3/6). Totsch yesterday said, "CBS Sports screwed up. This started and ended with the network. ... If we're to blame, I would say it. I'm still looking for information to answer some basic questions." He said that CBS "sent the incorrect coordinates to its affiliates in the Kansas and Missouri viewing areas." Those stations got a "different feed than the static feed, which would've remained on the KU-MU game no matter what" (K.C. STAR, 3/7).
FOWL LANGUAGE: In N.Y., Nina Mandell noted ESPN's Bob Knight during the net's "College GameDay" program Saturday was "doing an on-court defensive drill with the Baylor men's team against fellow on-air analyst Digger Phelps, when he dropped the phrase 'chicken (expletive) defense' live on air." ESPN's Rece Davis "was left apologizing to viewers -- as the rest of the crew exploded into laughter" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 3/5). ESPN VP/PR Josh Krulewitz did not say Sunday "whether further action was being considered" for Knight. Krulewitz: "We apologized on air shortly after it happened for the inappropriate language" (USA TODAY, 3/7). But in Austin, Kirk Bohls writes, "Shouldn't Knight have been the one to say he was sorry? Knight always, always held his players accountable. Shouldn't he have the same standard for himself?" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 3/7).