Will Charles Barkley's TV Game Work for March Madness?

By Noah Davis Comment

Big news this morning as TNT’s NBA crew joins CBS’s March Madness broadcasts. Marv Albert and Steve Kerr will call semi-final and regional final games, while Kerr jumps into the booth with Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg for the Final Four games and the national championship.

The more exciting part, however, is this note: “Charles Barkley, Greg Anthony, and Kenny Smith will provide analysis throughout the tournament alongside [Greg] Gumbel or [Ernie] Johnson from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York.”

But will the whole thing work?The brilliance of the Inside the NBA on TNT is that it’s a free-for-all. Johnson doesn’t keept Barkley in check; he lets him wander and ramble, only pulling the show back to reality when the need arises. It’s a tried and true formula, one that works because the three guys in the studio make it work (and TNT’s executives let them).

You have to wonder how the transition to network television will go. It’s important that Johnson will be pulling some hosting duties to help recreate the magic, but will Barkley have the same leeway? Can he say what he wants, when he wants to? If so, expect some magic. If not, well March Madness with Sir Charles will still be better than one without.