Saturday, March 19, 2011

When Four Networks Are Worse Than One

I like basketball but wouldn't call myself a huge fan. I'll flip on the Celtics here and there to see what the score is, and have an idea of where they sit in the standings throughout the year. But, until the playoffs start, I don't watch the C's from tipoff to final buzzer. And I don't watch any college basketball until the NCAA tournament starts.

And now CBS is testing that. This year, CBS is partnering with TBS, TNT and TruTV (Really? TruTV? Didn't that used to be CourtTV?  I mean, I know basketball is played on a court, but that's stretching the definition) and so the games are broadcast on all four networks. The hook is that every game is televised in its entirety.

This is a stupid idea.

The whole appeal of March Madness is live look-ins. If you're watching the BU-Kansas game, and Washington-Georgia is tied with 5 seconds left, CBS would keep BU on the corner of the screen while giving us a live look-in of the UW-UGA finish. Now, I have to check the scoreboard crawl at the top of the screen, then flip the channel. CBS claims they'll still bring these critical junctures, but they whiffed on the finish of the Temple-Penn State game, which was decided on a bucket with .4 seconds left, because they were in a commercial break. And, as best as I can tell, I don't even have TruTV on my cable package.

I know that, as a guy, I'm supposed to have this uncontrollable urge to cradle, caress and fondle the remote control. But the less I need to change the channel, the better. I don't want to have to flip through four different channels to get my college basketball fix. Maybe I'll be able to adjust. Maybe I'll feel differently next year. But right now, CBS has ruined March Madness for me.

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