CBS has cut down the length of Sunday's NCAA Tournament Selection Show from two hours down to 90 minutes, after last year's debacle-plagued broadcast.
The show, which was expanded to two hours last season, was brutal to watch, and as a result, drew its lowest ratings in 20 years. It took a full 1:17 the full 68-team bracket, and dedicated far too much time to Charles Barkley trying to figure out how to use a touch screen.
To make matters worse for CBS, the full bracket leaked online early in the show. Once it became clear that it was an accurate field, many tuned out.
The show will now run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., but the brackets will be revealed earlier in the day. From Sporting News:
Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports, said the shortened time frame will create a "crisper" and "better" telecast Sunday night as the network exclusively reveals the Field of 68 for the men's basketball tournament (CBS, 5:30-7 p.m. ET).
"If you go back to what we've done in the past, we have front-loaded the Selection (Sunday) Show," he said. "In those first four segments of the show, we've always revealed the brackets. We're going to go back to that. That's really what we're doing."
A major fan of those changes is Barkley, who did not come off well during last year's broadcast.
"I think (the Selection Sunday Show) is only going to be better. Instead of just wasting time, you just get to the show. I mean, it doesn't have to take two hours," Barkley told Sporting News during a CBS-Turner press event here Tuesday. "Last year we got screwed by (the leaker) releasing the brackets. So that didn't help. I think 90 minutes is fine, man. You don't have to drag it out for two hours. That's going to be good."
90 minutes is probably still longer than necessary, but if the brackets are released at the top of the show, it is definitely a move in the right direction.