SBD/April 4, 2011/Media

CBS Averages 8.9 Nielsen Rating For Final Four Games, Level With '10 Matchups

UConn-Kentucky earns best Final Four late window rating since '05
CBS averaged an 8.9 rating and 15.4 million viewers for its coverage of Saturday's two men's Final Four games, according to Nielsen fast-national data. The rating ties the '10 games as the highest-rated Final Four doubleheader since '05, and the viewership number is the highest since 16.6 million in '05. The first game, Butler-VCU, averaged an 8.3 rating and 14.2 million viewers. The second game, UConn-Kentucky, delivered a 9.5 rating, the best in that window since a 10.9 in '05. UConn-Kentucky averaged 16.7 million viewers (THE DAILY). The N.Y. POST writes the ratings for the Final Four "returned to earth -- after a huge spike in audience for earlier coverage across four channels that delivered every game" of the tournament (N.Y. POST, 4/4). However, in N.Y., Shelly Freierman notes tonight's Butler-UConn game "may draw more viewers" that the just under 24 million who watched last year's Duke-Butler title game. That is due to the fact UConn "has not been in the final" since '04 (N.Y. TIMES, 4/4).

THREE-MAN WEAVE: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes CBS' broadcast team of Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr Saturday were "largely deferential with each other, proving to be easy listening rather than overbearing." Kerr: "The three-man booth is very different. It either works or it doesn't, depending on the chemistry. In this case, it worked well. With Clark and I, neither of us has a problem deferring" (USA TODAY, 4/4). In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes Kerr "has been a welcome voice on CBS' Final Four coverage." He has "taken half the load off Kellogg, who is a decent announcer but often struggles to carry the analyst job by himself." Jones: "Kerr not only gives Kellogg a break, but the two seem to play well off one another" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/4). In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes Kellogg "had his best Saturday since replacing Billy Packer" as CBS' lead tournament analyst in '09. Saunders: "Was this because he felt the competitive breath of TNT's Steve Kerr on the broadcasting sideline?" Kellogg "seemed determined not to be undercut by a third-man theme" (DENVER POST, 4/4).

HOOPS HEARTLAND: In Indianapolis, Robert King noted Louisville ranked as the top-rated market for the NCAA Tournament entering the Final Four. Cincinnati and Columbus ranked tied for second, while Indianapolis and K.C. ranked tied for fourth (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/2).
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