In a move that is sure to throw people for a loop, Turner and CBS Sports announced Wednesday in a press release that the 2018 NCAA Tournament Selection Show will not be aired on CBS this year. Instead, the Selection Show, which had been aired exclusively on CBS since 1982, will be televised on TBS.
The show will also be two hours in length, a half hour extension from the 90-minute broadcast from 2017.
This, as mentioned, ends the longstanding tradition of CBS having the Selection Show. In all honesty though, this move to TBS isn’t all that surprising. When Turner Sports and CBS Sports joined together at the hip for NCAA Tournament coverage in 2011, all of what’s happened since was inevitable. There was simply no way that Turner, which is likely paying a fine sum of money to help air this mega-event, wouldn’t get a piece of the pie.
They already scored coverage of the Final Four in alternate years from 2016-2024 (A reminder that this will be happening this year and that this isn’t news. It was announced back in 2016 that they had this rights deal in place).
So, would I say that I’m shocked that TBS is airing the Selection Show? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was part of the negotiations. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they alternated years for the Selection Show either depending on which network is televising the Final Four/National Championship Game.
Now, as for the fear that the two hour show AUTOMATICALLY means it’s going to be like the 2016 debacle? I would probably not waste my breath on that. CBS corrected their blunders last year by doing what they’d done in years prior: Start the show off by announcing the field of 68. The added half hour will probably just be another half hour of tourney analysis and bracket picks and discussion.