Saturday, November 10, 2007

In-Progress on ESPN/ABC: NASCAR Now, NASCAR Countdown, NEXTEL Cup Race

Sunday should be an interesting day for both ESPN2 and the ABC television network.

After the recent shake-up at ESPN about NASCAR, the one hour version of NASCAR Now takes to the air at 10AM Eastern Time. Erik Kuselias will host, and the possible studio analysts are Stacy Compton and Boris Said.

It should be interesting to see if there are Truck and Busch Series highlights, and additional emphasis on the Busch winner interview. Also, the ABC broadcast crew may provide a preview of the NEXTEL Cup race directly from the track.

The NASCAR programming shifts over to ABC at 3PM with a thirty minute edition of NASCAR Countdown. This program will be hosted by Suzy Kolber with Brad Daugherty alongside from the Infield Studio. With Dale Jarrett missing the race, he may possibly join this crew as he did for the Busch Series race on Saturday.

Race coverage of the next to last NEXTEL Cup race of the season begins at 3:30PM on ABC. Dr. Jerry Punch will handle the play-by-play alongside of analysts Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree in the booth. On pit road will be Allen Bestwick, Mike Massaro, Dave Burns, and Jamie Little.

There is a very diverse field of drivers for this race, and the ESPN on ABC crew will have to make a decision about who to cover...and why. Gordon and Johnson, along with their crew chiefs and car owner may get a lot of air time, but the other stories in the field for this race might even be more interesting.

The schedule shows this race ending at 7:30PM on ABC, but both the Busch and Truck Series races had red flag periods that extended the event. ABC may find itself with this live NASCAR race running past their "hard off" time of 8PM Eastern. This would put everyone in an interesting situation, as the ABC Entertainment executives will want sports off the air immediately after the race is over. However, both NASCAR and the ESPN on ABC crew know just how important post-race interviews will be with only one final race remaining next week.

Both the 8PM Extreme Home Makeover and the 9PM Desperate Housewives programs draw bigger ratings than NASCAR. This would possibly make ESPN2 or ESPN Classic the "default" network should the race go long. ESPN2 is showing a World Series of Poker marathon, and at 8PM ESPN Classic is playing Days of Thunder. What an ironic twist if Days of Thunder gets bumped by a NASCAR race.

ESPN2 returns at Midnight Eastern Time with the thirty minute wrap-up edition of NASCAR Now, also hosted by Erik Kuselias. That program will definitely show if change is permanent for this TV series. Look for a wrap-up of the event directly from the ABC broadcast crew, and reports specifically for NASCAR Now from the ABC pit reporters. This was part of the "ESPN overall NASCAR integration" plan.

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Anonymous said...

10 PM NASCAR Now is next sunday on ESPN. JD's original post says tonight's show is at midnight.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks for filling in the details. The new NASCAR Now stuff begins on Monday and goes through Sunday of Championship Week. Sorry if anyone thought it began tonight.

There are three new columns up on the main page for your comments, and thanks again for stopping-by today as the race was in-progress.


elena said...

On NN tonight they showed at the very end kind of a human interest clip. When Jimmie was in the winner's cirlce, Jeff came from behind waving a white towel and bowing down to Jimmie.

The camera did not get a good angle, which leads me to think that Jeff was not trying to hog the camera attention, just be a good sport.

Anonymous said...

No improvement from the guys in the booth. Between Rusty's continued suggestions that the racers drive their brains out and the wheels off the cars, it is amazing anyone finsihes a race.

Still using Draft Track? Did the network sign an agreement that forces them to use it? They couldn't possibly think it's useful in any way.

Aerosmith was back. Again. That was the straw that drove me to MRN for sound.

Lots of hots of one car running around when, according to MRN, there was a lot of other action on the track--that we never got to see.

Jamie, when drivers walk away from you during an interview, take tht as a hint you're doing something wrong.

And the post-race went long because they'd alloted a longer window of time for the race. If it had gone longer (red flags, whatever) they would still have dumped out at the scheduled time. We just got lucky the race ended 30 minutes before the scheduled end-time for the broadcast.

One more race until we get back to coverage from a network that knows what it is doing.

Anonymous said...

Some random points:
*The SAP WORKED!:) And I did not even eatch the live broadcast. It was on a tape I made to see later (in part to watch football, in part to avoid all the commercials, draft track, tech center, and promos for other programs).
*Was Jamie Little a NTSB investigator in a past life?[LOL]
*At least ESPN interrupted a commercial break for a caution. We hadn't seen that for quite a while.

JD, can't wait for your wrapup.

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