CBS, Turner Combine For Most-Viewed NCAA Tourney Opening Week In 20 Years
CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV combined to average a 5.8 fast-national rating and 8.9 million viewers during the first week of NCAA Tournament games, marking the highest-rated first week in 15 years and the most-viewed first week in 20 years. Those figures were also up 7% and 9%, respectively, from last year’s opening week of coverage. Coverage on Sunday averaged a 7.1 rating and 11.1 million viewers across the four nets, marking the best rating for an opening Sunday in 13 years and best viewership in 15 years (CBS/Turner). MEDIA LIFE MAGAZINE's Toni Fitzgerald wrote some of the audience gains are "no doubt due to the growing awareness of cable coverage of the first round." With all games available, viewers "might notice the score of a tight game when they check the game results online, then snap on their TVs to catch coverage that wasn't available just a few years ago." The broadcast competition "certainly isn't what it used to be." Thursday shows like ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and Fox' "American Idol" "aren't as strong as they were in past years, and aren't drawing viewers away from March Madness as they once did" (MEDIALIFEMAGAZINE.com, 3/25).
TALKING HEADS THAT STOP MAKING SENSE: In N.Y., Bob Raissman asks, "Anyone else officially sick of Charles Barkley?" It is "enough already." But this is "not all Sir Charles' fault." CBS and Turner are "shoving Barkley down our collective throats," and have left him "overexposed." Barkley has been "uneven, inconsistent and repetitive" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/26). SI.com's Richard Deitsch writes the production on Sunday for Florida Gulf Coast's win over San Diego State on TBS "was terrific," but what "wasn't great was analyst Reggie Miller talking incessantly throughout the entire game." The three-person booth in basketball "is cluttered enough without a filibuster from one of the announcers." Miller needs to "significantly ease off the gas pedal for the round of 16 games" (SI.com, 3/26).