Why it's all about the money, of course. By sharing the rights to the NCAA tournament with CBS, Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting can apply more pressure on cable companies to demand higher program fees for TNT, TBS and the little-watched TruTV. Having Conan O'Brien on TBS provides still more ammunition. From the LAT's Joe Flint:
According to industry consulting firm SNL Kagan, cable and satellite operators only pay about 10 cents per subscriber per month for TruTV. That pales in comparison to the $1 that TNT gets and the 50 cents that TBS is averaging. Both TNT and TBS have lots of sports on them. Starting to get the idea? Conspiracy theorists are already speculating that the reason Turner doesn't get the rights to either the Final Four or the NCAA championship until 2016 is because it is around then that many of its distribution deals come up for renewal.