A Behind-The-Scenes Look At CBS’ NCAA Tournament Coverage

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Whether you’re familiar with all the teams or a newcomer to March Madness, the broadcast team at CBS Sports has you covered.

And as CBS2’s Steve Overmyer found out behind the scenes Thursday, the most important pieces of information are shared on blue cards.

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One control room in CBS’ Broadcast Center in Manhattan was responsible for 16 NCAA Tournament games Friday. In the studio, the mood was lighter.

“The guys I work with think they’re stand-up comedians. All of them,” said March Madness analyst Clark Kellogg. “Ernie (Johnson), Greg (Gumbel), Charles (Barkley) and Kenny (Smith), they think they’re stand-up comedians. But other than that, there’s a buzz of activity. A lot of people make this thing work.”

Behind the scenes, a full staff of researchers relay up-to-the-second info to the talent.

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Wayne Fiddleman still hand-delivers the info to the desk using blue 5-by-7 cards. And the talent wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I don’t want to have to type a password into a screen in order to get something I need quickly,” said Adam Zucker, the host of CBS’ coverage of college basketball.

At tournament time, he has one of the most important jobs. In a seperate room away from the cameras, Zucker breaks in with tournament updates from across the country.

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“I always try to cater toward the non-sports fan during the NCAA Tournament because that’s when you’re getting people who may not have watched college basketball the rest of the year. … What would I tell my wife about this game? Make it absorbable.”

But with all the information at his disposal, how does he pare it down into a 10-second update?

“Turns out that about all you can get on a blue card is what you can say during a 10- or 12-second update,” Zucker said.

Behind every fact spewed are countless hours of research.

CBS will carry tournament games all the way through the April 3 national championship.

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