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CBS’ decision on Woods baffling, unfortunate

March 27, 2010

A week ago, ESPN and the Golf Channel got semi-exclusive interviews with Tiger Woods regarding his return to professional golf at the 2010 Masters. It was the first time Woods spoke with the media since his infamous SUV crash on Thanksgiving night.

Now, it seems like an obvious decision for both networks to take the interview, despite the 5-minute time limit, among other restrictions. Yet, one network did not find it so obvious.

CBS, the primary network that covers the Masters, disagreed with the restrictions on the interview and ultimately chose not to take the interview with Woods. As a result, ESPN stole a lot of attention away from CBS during the NCAA Tournament, much as it did to NBC during the Winter Olympics when Woods made his public apology live on their network.

While CBS may have disagreed with the restrictions, turning down the interview as a whole was a mistake. ESPN is already likely to get as good, if not better, ratings than CBS because it airs the first two rounds of the Masters. But by giving them what was essentially an exclusive interview when you consider how few people watch the Golf Channel, CBS gave up even more.

Now, the big shots at CBS will have to hope Woods’ return to golf extends to the weekend. If not, they will be, to put it bluntly, fucked. Sure, people will still tune in to the final two rounds if Woods isn’t playing, but they’re banking their ratings on him being there. The least they could have done is supplement those ratings with an interview last week.

Sure, they may not have had time to show it as early as ESPN due to their live coverage of NCAA basketball, but not showing it at all? Come on. CBS’ inability to manage multiple games at times during the Tournament is bad enough, but declining a one-on-one interview with Tiger? That’s a decision I’m sure CBS would like a mulligan on.

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