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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Kentucky knocked Wisconsin out of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Tournament with a Final Four victory on Saturday. (PHOTO: Getty Images Pool / NCAA.com)

Badgers fans help break cable ratings record


While the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team didn't advance to the championship game after a nail-biting Final Four loss on Saturday, the team, however, was responsible for bringing in a large audience.

Turner Sports, and CBS Sports' presentation of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Semifinals on TBS, TNT and truTV, created history with the two most-watched college basketball telecasts in cable television history.

The tilt between Kentucky and Wisconsin grossed 16.3 million total viewers and an 11.0 household coverage rating to become the most-viewed college basketball game of all time on a cable television network. According to Nielsen, the broadcast peaked with an average of 18.6 million total viewers and a 12.7 household coverage rating from 10 to 10:30 p.m.

The tournament's digital offering – March Madness Live – had huge growth in viewership, too.

The two games – including Connecticut against Florida as the first game of the doubleheader – had 3.8 million live streams for an increase of 76 percent over last year. According to Social Guide, the pair of games had more than 1.8 million tweets that were seen by as many as 200 million Twitter users.

There's a reason why national tournaments and college bowl games love to have Wisconsin involved. The fan base travels to be a part of the live audience at event venues, as well as tracks state-based teams on TV and in the digital space.

See a gallery of images from the Kentucky and Wisconsin game in the NCAA Final Four courtesy of Getty Images.

Connecticut will face Kentucky in the championship game tonight, with coverage starting around 7:30 p.m. on WDJT-TV CBS 58.

TECH SUPPORT: Journal Broadcast Group hired Brian McHale as VP and Chief Technology Officer, where he will oversee the company's technical and physical infrastructure across its 13 television stations and 35 radio stations in 11 states.

"Journal is clearly an innovative media company committed to leveraging technology across multiple platforms, creating new revenue streams and increasing shareholder value," said McHale, who left Fisher Communications for the new role.

"I look forward to using my broad knowledge in media and entertainment technology to quickly contribute to the success of this dynamic company."

McHale will report to Debbie Turner, executive vice president of Television and Steve Wexler, the executive vice president of Radio.

"Brian's combination of operational knowledge and ideas about how technology shapes our future will truly benefit our business," Wexler said in a release.

McHale will be replacing Journal CTO Andy Laird, who announced his intention to retire later this year.

BREWERS PROGRAMMING: On Friday night, Fox Sports Wisconsin will present "Baseball in the Dominican Republic" following the "Brewers Live" post-game show. The first installment of the series will feature Brewers shortstop Jean Segura.

Segura grew up in a poor neighborhood in San Juan de la Maguana, in a small house that was home to as many as 10 people. Segura takes Fox Sports Wisconsin reporter Sophia Minnaert through his childhood, when he helped his grandmother make candy that was sold to help feed the family, and baseball was played in a pasture with a home-made ball and a tree limb for a bat.

With a dream to play professionally, and rescue his family from a life of poverty, Segura quit school and devoted himself to baseball. As a teenager he overcame homesickness, the language barrier and a broken leg to succeed in the United States.

Minnaert took a three-week trip to the Dominican Republic to gather the interviews featured in the new series.


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