TBS was already scheduled to carry the 2018 Final four, but now that network, and not CBS per usual, will be televising this year’s Selection Show.
Here’s the release:
The 2018 NCAA March Madness Selection Show, featuring the exclusive live first-time announcement of the pairings for the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, will be televised on TBS – Sunday, March 11, at 6 p.m. ET. TBS will also televise this year’s NCAA Final Four National Semifinals on Saturday, March 31, along with the National Championship on Monday, April 2.
This year’s two-hour Selection Show, produced in partnership between Turner Sports and CBS Sports, will be presented live from Turner Studios in Atlanta. The show will feature analysis, discussion, interviews and reactions from teams as they find out if they made the “Dance,” along with their region, seeding and opponent. Greg Gumbel and Ernie Johnson will host the show, joined by analysts Clark Kellogg, Charles Barkley, Seth Davis and Kenny Smith.
The NCAA Selection Show will also be available on NCAA March Madness Live, the official live streaming product of March Madness available via digital devices.
For the eighth consecutive year, CBS Sports and Turner Sports will provide live coverage of all 67 games from the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship across four national television networks – TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – and via NCAA March Madness Live.
CBS will broadcast the NCAA Final Four National Semifinals, National Championship and Selection Show in 2019, with the events alternating between Turner and CBS each year throughout the partnership.
Ahead of the Selection Show, Turner Sports and CBS Sports will present NCAA March Madness Bracket Preview on Sunday, Feb. 11, at 12:30 p.m. on CBS, with the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Selection Committee offering an in-season look at the NCAA Tournament brackets. NCAA Men’s Committee Chair and Creighton Athletic Director Bruce D. Rasmussen will be in-studio for the reveal of the top 16 seeds, including the four teams in each region, as they stand as of Feb. 11.
Look, I’m cool with the Final Four being on TBS every other year, because that deal kept up from having a 96-team tournament which I think everyone would have wound up hating. This feels unnecessary though. I guess the brass at Turner believes the ratings for the show are going to be down again this year, so they may as well throw it on TBS where the types of numbers the show does will be a significant benefit.
Ratings for the show have been dipping (albeit slightly) for the last few years and I suppose there’s no reason to believe that trend is going to reverse course this year. Still, I struggle with change when it comes to March.
Watching the end of the Big Ten title game bleed into the bracket reveal is going to turn into sleeping through the end of the AAC title game, waking up and then freaking out because you forgot the Selection Show was on TBS.