Monday, June 4, 2007
Where In The NASCAR World Is Doug Banks?
ESPN's latest press release eliminates Doug Banks as one of the hosts of NASCAR Now, the daily show seen on ESPN2. Back on March 14th of this year, The Daly Planet wrote a column about Mr. Banks. It was entitled "the Doug Banks era begins...this should be interesting." As you may remember, Mr. Banks was a hip-hop urban DJ with a large following in the black community.
Mr. Banks sudden presence on a national NASCAR television show was never explained. There was never any information about Mr. Banks interest in the sport, his interest in television, or his sudden career move. It became apparent to anyone watching this program that Mr. Banks had absolutely no NASCAR knowledge at all.
Now, it seems that Mr. Banks has gone as swiftly and strangely as he arrived. He has not been re-assigned to any other TV role on ESPN, or any of its networks. We have not seen him getting more TV experience on ESPN News, or even doing reporting assignments in the field. Mr. Banks seems to have left the building.
If this was a daily national baseball or football TV show, the hiring and subsequent firing of Mr. Banks would have made headlines. It also would have been splashed all over the sports blogs from Deadspin to KissingSuzyKolber. But, this is NASCAR and not Baseball Tonight or NFL Countdown.
As viewers have been discovering, the NASCAR knowledge in the ESPN middle and senior management is limited. The experienced types are working on the races themselves, which have been fine all season long. This leaves a twisted bureaucratic mess of managers to try and develop both the on-site pre-race show, and the daily Bristol, CT studio show. With the programming executives sticking their hands in the pie on the production side as well, things are just plain horrible.
Mr. Banks seemed to be a nice guy. It was tough to tell because he was never allowed to be himself, only to read a script. Over-and-over again, he was forced to dance to the ESPN2 drummer. The NASCAR talk was bad, the reporter conversations were bad, and the interviews with NASCAR drivers were absolutely horrible. But, how is that his fault? Who knows what ESPN promised this man if he would come on board.
Let's hope for Mr. Banks sake that he is back in radio and rebuilding his career after this very strange trip to NASCAR land. As much as I would like to meet Mr. Banks and shake his hand for giving it a try, I just don't think I will be seeing him at a NASCAR race anytime soon. So, good luck to you Doug, it was nice almost knowing you.
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