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JPTV: Rating Sitcoms, NCAA Bracket-Style

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Who’s the TV critic you’d vote least likely to ever appear on an ESPN network? Me! Who’s going to be on ESPN2’s First Take today around 11:30 a.m. (ET)? Me!

Not talking sports though, not exactly. The show’s having me on to judge a greatest-sitcoms-of-all-time battle, bracket-style. (Brackets are the tournament groupings they use in NCAA basketball. Where you throw the basketball through the basketball ring.) Update: They’ve also booked Cheers’ George Wendt to offer his picks, so now you have an actual reason to watch.

ESPN picked the shows to go in the bracket, not me (though I added a couple requests), so these aren’t my 16 favorite sitcoms of all time, nor did I seed them. (If I did, there wouldn’t be any upsets!) And I can’t say I gave my picks exhaustive, serious consideration–the process basically involved five minutes on the phone with a producer.

But it’s a fun exercise and a neat twist on the old best-of list: Is this one thing better than that one thing? (Hulu, by the way, is doing the same thing, but for currently running TV shows.)  Some shows I love got a bad draw, and others went farther than they would if I were writing up a straight list. Such is the majesty of sport!

But the final winner is my all-time favorite; you’ll have to watch to see what it is. Or after the show airs, I’ll post the bracket and my picks here, if I can figure out how to format it.

In the meantime, you can play along at home. First Take’s four “divisions” are New School, Syndicated, ’80s and Classic. (Basically, everything before the ’80s. They skew young.) What are the first seeds in your bracket?