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CBS earned a 14.3 overnight Nielsen rating for Louisville’s 82-76 win over Michigan in the NCAA men's basketball title game last night, marking the best rating for the championship since Duke-Butler in ’10 (16.0) and second-best rating since North Carolina-Illinois in ’05 (16.0). Louisville-Michigan is up 18% from a 12.1 overnight for Kentucky-Kansas last year. The game last night peaked at a 17.3 rating during the final quarter hour (11:30-11:45pm ET). Louisville topped all markets with a 54.0 local rating, followed by Detroit with a 33.5 rating. Rounding out the top five were Columbus (26.4), Indianapolis (25.1) and Cincinnati (24.7). For the entire tournament across CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV, NCAA Tournament games averaged a 7.2 overnight, up 9% from a 6.6 rating last year. That figure is tied with ’11 as the highest-rated tourney since ’05 (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
WARE-ING THEM OUT: CBS during its coverage last night cut to shots of injured Louisville G Kevin Ware approximately 17 times, not counting images of him sitting the next to the bench during the broadcast or in a wider shot of the game. Ware was shown entering the locker room before tip-off about three minutes into the broadcast, was seen or partially seen during player introductions as each starter slapped hands with him and also figured prominently in the postgame coverage. Ware was the last person interviewed on stage following the trophy presenation. The 17 shots is down from a reported 25 cutaways during Saturday's Final Four game against Wichita State (Paul Sanford, Television Editor).
BRING THE NOISE: ADVANCE PUBLICATIONS' Scott Branson writes CBS’ Clark Kellogg “made ears bleed across the nation Monday night, screaming into his headset at every opportunity -- of which there were many.” Branson: “I'll forgive Kellogg for forcing me to the medicine cabinet for pain killers, though. The game was full of energy and at times a good guttural scream was about the only way to explain it” (ADVANCE PUBLICATIONS, 4/9). ESPN's Jemele Hill wrote on her Twitter feed, “Clark Kellogg is sounding like he one of the extra-hype bystanders at a And-1 game. OHHHHHHHHHH!!!!” The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy tweeted, “Kellogg just said this game was ‘Worthy of a championship’ Wow, that [w]as insightful.” Variety's Brian Lowry tweeted, “The CBS intros to the NCAA Final might be longer than the first half. Nobody should have to watch Jim Nantz that long.” The Birmingham News' Jon Solomon tweeted, “Wow, Michigan is giving CBS some serious access tonight. Rare to see.”
FIVE SPOT: In Detroit, Drew Sharp notes CBS cameras caught former NBAer Chris Webber “entering the stadium,” but he “wasn’t seen sitting with his former teammates in the stands.” Flashes from smartphones “popped in rapid succession as Michigan fans wanted shots of this impromptu gathering.” Once again, the Fab Five “had to make this moment about them.” It is “too bad that Webber didn’t pass on the appearance” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/9).
WHEN IN ROME: While a review of Jim Rome’s interviews with the Final Four coaches on Saturday showed he asked about the Mike Rice firing at Rutgers, in his column today, the N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Bob Raissman wonders why Rome didn’t ask about the incident. He figures it “probably had more to do with CBS’ and the NCAA’s time-honored tradition of making sure uncomfortable reality does not crash their March Madness party.” However, Rome did pose the question, specifically asking, “When you saw the tape of Mike Rice, what did you think?” As you will see in the video below, each coach gave a response (THE DAILY).
News Corp. COO Chase Carey warned that Fox' broadcast channel becoming a cable network “could happen,” according to Joe Flint of the L.A. TIMES. IAC/InterActiveCorp. Chair Barry Diller's new venture Aereo streams over-the-air TV signals on the Internet and has the “potential to undermine retransmission consent,” which provides fees to broadcast networks from cable companies. That has "broadcasters such as Fox worried.” Carey said, “We have no choice but to develop business solutions that ensure we continue to remain in the driver’s seat of our own destiny. One option could be converting the Fox broadcast network to a pay channel, which we would do in collaboration with both our content partners and affiliates.” Flint noted if Fox “opted to become a cable channel, it may be able to charge more than it currently gets from pay-TV distributors.” Another issue would be “whether Fox could contractually move all its content to cable.” There could be “concerns from lawmakers about even more football and baseball games moving from broadcast TV to cable.” An NFL spokeperson said, "We are committed to our partnership with Fox." Carey is the first broadcaster to “go public with the cable-only idea but others are thinking it too” (LATIMES.com, 4/8). Univision Chair Haim Saban said, “To serve our community, we need to protect our product and revenue streams and therefore we, too, are considering all of our options -- including converting to pay TV.” Saban said that Aereo was “a pirate” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/9).