Doug Gottlieb joined Ken Carman and Anthony Lima on Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan this morning, and started out attempting to mount a defense of CBS’s dreadful NCAA Tournament selection show from Sunday night.
He started out by analogizing it to the Academy Awards, which don’t reveal Best Picture until the end of of an interminable show of their own. That show, by the way, just saw its ratings tumble 16% to its lowest in six years, because people are coming more around to the notion that it’s a non-compelling television program.
Gottlieb attacked SI’s Richard Deitsch, whose critique of the show was relatively mild compared to many’s, including mine. “Richard Deitsch covers television, and obviously doesn’t know anything about television,” said Gottlieb. “Because you would never unleash the bracket early. Matter of fact, the only reason the last bracket was revealed when it was revealed was because the bracket was leaked digitally on the Internet. Otherwise it would have been even later in the show.”
Deitsch had written:
More than one hour into the show, at the 62-minute mark, viewers finally began to learn the second half of the bracket. When host Greg Gumbel read off the final teams in the tournament, Seton Hall and Gonzaga, the clock read 6:47 p.m. ET. Viewers waited 77 minutes for the completed bracket. Wars have been completed in less time.
Naturally, CBS was crushed on social media, from staffers working at competitors such as ESPN, SB Nation and Fox Sports 1. There was criticism from national columnists, big city columnists, mid-sized columnists and even hockey columnists. Even staffers from the New York Times weighed in. My feed was a waterfall of complaints from viewers.
Gottlieb also thought Barkley vs. the touchscreen was “gold,” and reiterated that the leak drove the network to reveal the brackets quicker.
With regard to Gottlieb’s defense of the show, his assertion that it’s TV 101 to keep the viewer around for the bracket reveal is true, to a point, but there has to be a happy medium where they can do that without insulting our intelligence. Taking the show from 30 minutes to 60 to 120 has watered it down. It took 40 minutes just to get to the second region. It felt like a flight delay.
On Selection Sunday, there’s a pretty captive audience of viewers who want information about the brackets. Most people are not intuitively attuned to the field yet, and they want to be. If CBS had studio analysts that the public deemed to be better than ESPN’s, people would stay at their network for that. They should worry about that instead of indulgent tricks, and it serves them right that a hacker altered their plans.