Sunday, August 12, 2007

Survival Of The Fastest vs. NASCAR In Primetime

Very quietly this season, SPEED has presented the highest quality post-produced NASCAR show on TV. Since its debut, Survival of the Fastest has been the fans "reality TV" link to the sport. SPEED no longer carries any other NASCAR reality shows that are edited primarily from original footage mixed with raceday action.

In the past, this was a strong genre for SPEED, but recent changes at the network resulted in SPEED concentrating their efforts at the track. Even though the network does not televise any of the NEXTEL or Busch Series events, they originate many hours of live and short tape delay original programming at each race weekend from the SPEED Stage.

Luckily, SPEED teamed again with NASCAR Images to create a quick turn-a-round thirty minute show that is fast-paced and always interesting. Since several key executives at NASCAR Images are from NFL Films, its easy to see the influence of this group on Survival of the Fastest.

The series has an off-camera announcer, who blends into the background and basically serves to "bridge" the original footage segments together. With lots of behind-the-scenes action, including personality profiles and areas not normally seen by TV cameras, the series has been tremendously popular with NASCAR fans.

This week, the ABC television network will enter the NASCAR programming world. In support of the transition of NASCAR racing to ABC later this season, the network debuts a series called NASCAR in Primetime.

On Wednesday at 10PM Eastern, ABC will begin to air their first NASCAR reality series in history. It should be interesting. Created by the ABC News Division, this show does not use NASCAR Images or their expertise in any way. It is being produced independently, and that is a rarity in the world of NASCAR TV.

The press release says "ABC News spent six months following drivers, fans, and officials. Our cameras saw people and places that NASCAR has never before allowed to be filmed for TV." Some people might call this a bit of a stretch. Over the years, NASCAR has been one of the sports most user-friendly to TV. Drivers have opened their homes, their motorhomes at the track, taken viewers on vacation trips, and even shown their troubled times as teams collapsed. We have met their wives, kids, parents, and even high school teachers.

What new ground ABC News has chosen to break is a bit muddled, but it looks like the program is going to focus on driver profiles, NASCAR officials duties, and comments from fans about the sport's history. Simply the fact that a new NASCAR program is going to be on network TV in primetime is very important.

Certainly, NASCAR has cooperated fully on this effort, even though the sanctioning body itself owns fifty percent of NASCAR Images. Normally, any NASCAR-themed TV program comes through this company and is carefully controlled in both content and theme.

So, this Wednesday night should be interesting for the sport, the network, and NASCAR fans nationwide. The Daly Planet will be watching, and will post a review column on Thursday. Please tune-in, and then share your thoughts with us.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click-on the COMMENTS button below, or email if you wish not to be published. Thanks again for taking the time to stop-by and leave your opinion.


Anonymous said...

This weekend was one of the best races and broadcasts of the year. There was always something going on, and ESPN did a great job of covering it all. Understandably no broadcast team can ever cover every aspect of the race, but this was by far the best effort this year in my honest opinion. Seems like ESPN went back in time and found what they had years ago when it was the only place to find any coverage. Either that or they have a producer that reads blogs such as this, and pays attention to what the fans say and want to see.

Anonymous said...

I, too, will be interested to see what ABC thinks it shot that's never been seen before. I suspect the answer is, "nothing," which will only reinforce the idea that ABC doesn't know much about NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

Let's just hope that this isn't a history of the sport documentary and more of a expose on the gears that make the sport turn. I'm hoping for the best. Nascar Drivers 360 was the best show to come around in a long time for the sport. Let's hope this is equally entertaining.