CBS Sees Overnight Rating Jump 25% For Sunday's NCAA Tourney Doubleheader
CBS averaged an 8.0 overnight Nielsen rating for its two NCAA Tournament Regional Finals yesterday, up 25% from a 6.4 overnight for the doubleheader last year. The early afternoon window that featured Michigan-Florida earned a 6.2 overnight, up 17% from a 5.3 rating for Kentucky-Baylor last year. In the late afternoon window, Louisville-Duke earned a 9.4 overnight, up 21% from a 7.8 rating for Kansas-North Carolina in '12. For the entire tournament to date, CBS and Turner Sports have combined to average a 6.7 overnight, up 8% from the same point last year (CBS/Turner). VARIETY's Rick Kissell on Twitter writes, "CBS tops Big Four on Sunday, a big night for cable with finales of WALKING DEAD and THE BIBLE" (TWITTER.com, 4/1).
CHEMISTRY LESSONS: SI.com's Richard Deitsch writes body language "isn't always the best indicator of on-air chemistry, but watching Greg Anthony and Doug Gottlieb interact this weekend on the CBS NCAA Tournament studio show reminded me of the warmth between North Korea and the U.S." The long-term issue is "how Gottlieb fits stylistically with others on the set." When it comes to "breaking down college basketball, Gottlieb is excellent." But as far as "personality goes, he gets himself in trouble when he channels his inner-Bayless with over-the-top brazenness" (SI.com, 4/1). Meanwhile, in Tampa, Tom Jones writes it was a "nice idea by CBS to bring in just-fired UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland" for Saturday's "Road to the Final Four" show. But the "execution quickly fell apart when the analysts hijacked it by having a pity party for Howland." Maybe Howland "did get a raw deal from UCLA," but the "grandstanding, especially by analyst Greg Anthony, made for bad television" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 4/1).
TOO MUCH CHUCK: In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted analyst Charles Barkley is "looking for a change in his workload" around the NCAA Tournament. Barkley said, "I do think I was overexposed. I have been addressing it with them (Turner suits) and hopefully they will change it up." He noted he has suggested that analysts "only work six hour days." Barkley: "12 hours is too much. I don’t think you can keep your energy level up 12 hours." He added that the "'hardest' days for him are the first rounds of the tournament on Thursday and Friday." Barkley: "We should have another crew work the afternoon games, then we can come in the studio from 6 p.m. to midnight. 6 to 12 is perfect. I don’t think anyone wants to see anybody 12 hours straight." Raissman wrote Barkley during the opening weekend "seemed lethargic" and "appeared disinterested" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/31).
STAYING CONNECTED: In DC, Dan Steinberg noted CBS' Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery both said that the "best part of the tournament is their 30-minute casual gab sessions with a small group of players from the victorious teams between tournament rounds." They look for "clues to make an unknown roster more compelling to a casual audience." Lundquist said, "The challenge that Bill and I both have is to convey those stories in the context of the telecast. Because we do, we live in a world that is so cynical. It just is." That is why Lundquist "places so much value on Raftery's ability to connect with teenagers in an authentic way." Lundquist said, "He has the greatest interactions with college students of anybody I've ever seen. I call him the mayor of college basketball, and it's real, and there's nothing that's planned about it. And the students have a genuine affection for him" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 3/29).