Saturday, January 12, 2008

Chris Myers Steps Into Suzy Kolber's Glass Slippers


What a difference a year makes. Chris Myers and the Hollywood Hotel gang used to walk into town with the Daytona 500 as their first big show, and then "rock and roll" their way through the remaining races in the NASCAR on Fox TV package.

Normally, the memories of the previous NASCAR season on TV were not an issue. Myers, along with Jeff Hammond and Darrell Waltrip, could have their goofy fun while warming-up the viewers for the race that was "coming up next." This year, things have changed.

Myers has always been the "odd man out" on this series, in much the same way that Marc Fein was on the TNT package last year. Myers is a journeyman, who just last week was seen as a sideline reporter on a playoff football game. But, many TV viewers remember Myers from somewhere else.

For ten years, Myers was a regular on ESPN hosting SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight and his award-winning Up Close interview program. Tennis fans know Myers from his Tennis Channel interview program called Center Court.

The one thing that Myers does not have on his resume, other than the Hollywood Hotel, is NASCAR. While on-air hosts like John Roberts, Steve Byrnes and Krista Voda slug-it-out in the NASCAR trenches each week, Myers is off to other sports once the Fox package ends. To Myers, NASCAR is a job and not a lifestyle.

Before the 2007 roll-out of the new NASCAR TV contract, this was not a problem. Myers was one of the "originals" on the Fox coverage, and basically created his own role. Now, after a disastrous season of declining ratings and fan unrest, there is no one more clearly in the spotlight than Mr. Myers. We all know the reason why.

ESPN had a devil of a time finding someone to take the Infield Studio anchor position during their first year back in NASCAR. This new high-tech studio is ESPN's equivalent of the Hollywood Hotel. During ESPN's Busch Series races, they tried Chris Fowler, Brent Musburger, Erik Kuselias, Mike Massaro and Allen Bestwick as hosts.

By the time that the network's NEXTEL Cup races had rolled around, the ESPN brass had seen enough. What they wanted was someone who was a professional TV reporter, someone who already knew the ESPN system and someone who would be "safe" on-the-air no matter what was happening behind the scenes. Enter Monday Night Football sideline reporter Suzy Kolber.

Casual fans who only watch the NEXTEL Cup races, and not the practice or qualifying shows, tuned-in to find themselves confronted by Suzy Kolber, Brad Daugherty and Brent Musburger. It was quite an experience.

Kolber openly admitted her lack of any NASCAR experience, and instead used her considerable TV skills to "direct traffic" and ask a whole lot of questions that any fan might ask if they were new to the sport. There was only one fundamental problem. NASCAR fans had been watching since February. It was now the end of July.

ESPN failed to understand that no one was "new" to the sport at that time of the season. No one was now watching just because the sport was "on ESPN." They totally dismissed the Fox and TNT parts of the schedule, and instead treated fans as if the Brickyard 400 was the Daytona 500. In ESPN's mind, the season had just begun.

Unfortunately, the person caught right in the middle of all this was Kolber. Smiling all the way to the end, she subjected viewers to a recap of the most basic NASCAR issues during her pre-race shows. Then, she put a topper on the situation by moving the ESPN pit road reporters aside and doing live "feature interviews" from the starting grid. Her questions were often unintentionally hilarious.

As ESPN's NEXTEL Cup season progressed, the network forced Kolber into becoming the object of fan anger by inserting her on-camera even as green flag racing continued in the background. Kolber promoted non-racing sports, interviewed celebrities, and offered discussions and recaps of the race even as it was still in-progress right over her shoulder.

Nowhere was that situation more out-of-control than the Pocono race in August, where Kolber closed the pre-race show with a full-length music video. "Shut-up and Drive" has become a painful reminder of the Disney entertainment influence on ESPN's NASCAR coverage. After seven months of hard racing, and with only a handful of races before The Chase cut-off, a pop music video topped the hard news from the Cup Series.

ESPN relieved Kolber of the Busch Series pre-race duties, and gave that program to Allen Bestwick, but the damage was done. For many fans, Suzy Kolber and Rusty Wallace had come to define ESPN's NASCAR coverage. As the season ended in Homestead, it was almost a relief.

Now, after an off-season that seems to get more microscopic every year, the NASCAR on Fox gang walks into a very different fan base. Viewers know that the booth team of Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip will bring themselves to the table prepared. Fox's pit reporters are the best in the business, and Jeff Hammond's hard work from the infield has kept both his profile and his credibility high.

Suddenly, all eyes are on Chris Myers. This season, the goofy humor and the embarrassing moments will take on a new meaning. SPEED viewers have now had an entire season of watching John Roberts and Steve Byrnes host every kind of TV show possible from the Cup tracks.

These are the two men that took the "burden" of keeping NASCAR TV credible, put it on their backs, and carried the load in 2007. Roberts and Byrnes combined to give NASCAR fans the kind of "at the track" feel that ESPN and TNT never delivered.

Byrnes hosted countless practice and qualifying shows, along with his Trackside and NASCAR Live duties. Roberts anchored the RaceDay franchise for SPEED, along with Victory Lane, Tradin' Paint and almost anything else the network needed.

Ironically, many times during the Fox portion of the season, Byrnes anchored his practice and qualifying shows from the Hollywood Hotel. He was sitting in the chair normally occupied by Chris Myers, and he looked good in it.

This February at Daytona when Chris Myers looks around, there will be lots of NASCAR TV veterans looking right back at him. Several of them worked non-stop for the entire racing season and hosted hundreds of hours of live national TV programs. Like the fans, they have the memory of Suzy Kolber fresh in their minds, and the reaction to her by TV viewers.

Fox needs to come out of the gate with poise and dignity to begin a big repair job with the fans. They need to fix a credibility gap they did not create, but must address. If the goofy antics and the forced attempts at humor of the Hollywood Hotel from last February surface again, fans may simply continue the trend of deciding they have better things to do.

No matter how many funny antics, no matter how many inside jokes and no matter how many electronic TV "toys" they bring, no TV network can prevent a viewer from simply walking away.

The NASCAR on Fox gang needs to remember that after they left the sport last season, that is exactly what one in every ten NASCAR TV viewers did. Chris Myers has his work cut-out for him.

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64 comments:

AndyPandy said...

I am looking forward to seeing Chris Myers again. It's all a matter of chemistry, and the Fox guys simply have it. The best thing Myers did right from the start was to not pretend to be a NASCAR guy, and to freely admit that he was the newbie. He took the jokes and kidding in stride, giving it right back to Jeff, DW and the rest, and helped keep the mood light and fun while still informing us.

That's where the World Wide Leader failed. Besides the lack of chemistry, the shows were bland and lifeless, with any attempts at humor looking forced, and they still failed to let us know what was going on in the race.

I've been a NASCAR fan for a long time, and I guess I'm far from a purist. I like the light, wise-guy Fox style that combines fun and facts. Like they say, this ain't rocket surgery. It's just entertainment, and I like mine entertaining.

Quinilin said...

Actually, I like Chris Myers. When I see him at other sporting events, I think of NASCAR. I don't know why since he certainly was doing those events before NASCAR, but maybe it's just because I've enjoyed him in his role.

Television coverage doesn't have to be all serious stuff to lend credibility to a sport. Just look at the FOX NFL pre-game show. That's definitely not serious stuff, but I believe it's the top-rated sports pre-game show, and it certainly hasn't hurt the NFL.

Maybe the NFL is just in a position where such antics can't hurt it, while NASCAR isn't. But I think it's more to do with the fact that it's done well ... as goofy as it may be.

The same with Chris Myers and the pre-race show on FOX. Yeah, it's goofy...but it hasn't made me cringe the way some of the other networks' coverage has.

Maybe it's just me...

SallyB said...

The entire 'Hollywood Hotel' concept was lame from the beginning, and Chris Meyers was embarrassing. One more "I ked because I care" and I'm going to throw up. Yet another example of someone who is totally out of his element, and somehow seems not to realize it.

PammH said...

ummm-Chris Myers has sucked from the word "go"! When you have the drivers make fun of him, it's time to admit he does not FIT in. And the HH needs to bite the dust! It does not work!!

Tripp said...

Lashing Myers to the tip of the lightning rod is not quite fair. Myers has integrated himself into the Fox team rather well. He does his job as the "anchor" of the broadcast and has something short of a decade of experience. Would John Roberts be better? Possibly, but I'd hate to lose him on "RaceDay". Myers has never given me the "fingernails on a chalkboard" feeling when his voice pours out of my surround sound system. I don't think he should be in the cross-hairs of this discussion.

Your point that the Fox team needs to make up for the multitude of sins perpetrated by TNT and ESPN/ABC through last summer and fall is very well taken.

NASCAR may be only an appetizer in the sports buffet of the fan who regularly feast on stick-and-ball sports broadcasts on both national and regional networks. If Fox does their normal job this year, from pre-race through victory circle, these fans shouldn't much care. I suspect that it's the ravenous Cup followers that will be at risk in the ratings if Fox doesn't hold the bar high.

Many serious NASCAR fans have stated here and elsewhere that they are looking forward to the return of Fox like someone stranded in the desert looks forward to a cool drink. If Fox lets them down, viewers will switch off and tune to radio, the Web and HotPass.

The Fox team and other broadcasters like BP and Alan Bestwick have taught staunch fans the finer points of good racing broadcasts. For those of us used to a NASCAR diet of lobster, we won't stick around if we're served SPAM.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind Myers. It seems like a good fit for the Fox crew. I also think of NASCAR when I see him on other FOX Sports programing.

haus20 said...

JD Said,

"ESPN failed to understand that no one was "new" to the sport at that time of the season. No one was now watching just because the sport was "on ESPN." They totally dismissed the Fox and TNT parts of the schedule, and instead treated fans as if the Brickyard 400 was the Daytona 500. In ESPN's mind, the season had just begun."

---JD, I think this sums up ESPN's problems. They can't just show up and produce programming b/c they are ESPN and expect Nascar Fans to be satisfied. By the time ESPN comes into the picture, 6 months of the NASCAR season has already transpired. NASCAR fans have already determined what they expect out of a broadcast. ESPN must realize that they are not creating expectations in NASCAR, they are expected to fulfill them.

Vince said...

FOX started a lot of the crap that we saw ESPN trying to emulate this past season. From the Hollywood Hotel (totally unneeded), to the over the top graphics, to hyping story lines where there were none. I like most of the guys on FOX and they get along well. But Myers is a dolt and we need him about as much as we needed Suzy. I am a long time fan of Nascar since the 60's and am tired of the Hee-Haw image that FOX presents to the viewers. The sport has outgrown that for better or worse. And if I want so see comedy, I'll turn to the Comedy Channel. Knock of all the yuck, yucks and just give us the racing. Use Bob, Ned and Benny as your examples.

Anonymous said...

Chris Myers is no where near as bad as Tony K. on Monday Night Football. At least Myers is not in the booth. Just wait... Wilbon will be on the ESPN show by the end of the season.

stricklinfan82 said...

Chris Myers has worked NASCAR broadcasts for 7 years now. Yes he does a lot of other sports but I think he's learned enough about this sport and the people in it to be considered a credible NASCAR host.

For this reason I don't think it's fair at all to put him in a class with Suzy Kolber, Brent Musburger, Chris Fowler, Marc Fein, or Erik Kuselias.

I understand that he's not a hardcore "NASCAR guy" like Mike Joy or Allen Bestwick, but I hardly consider him to be someone who holds a different full-time job and works NASCAR races as a hobby and probably chuckles about the sport in private moments like the other "fish out of water" I brought up earlier.

Do I ever want Myers in the broadcast booth for a race? Absolutely not.

Would I cry if Krista Voda or Steve Byrnes replaced him as the studio host? Not at all.

But am I going to be offended by Chris Myers like I was when Chris Fowler, Suzy Kolber, Brent Musburger, and Erik Kuselias suddenly became NASCAR hosts last year? No.

My respect for NASCAR on-air personalities has to be earned over a course of time. For me 7 years has been enough for Mr. Myers to earn my respect.

Tabula Rasa said...

This February at Daytona when Chris Myers looks around, there will be lots of NASCAR TV veterans looking right back at him.

How many years does he need under a belt before he's considered a veteran!? C'mon, give the man some respect. If not for his depth, then at least for his breadth. In addition to NASCAR, he works capably on MLB & NFL.

Let's also remember the point of using an "outsider"...it provides a familiar face to a potential audience that may be unfamiliar with NASCAR.

kendria said...

You know you are so right. I can't even remember a bad thought of FOX's coverage. I even miss the boogity boogity jangle. I don't know if thats because my head still hurts and my ears are still bleeding from the pummeling I endured from TNT and ESPN. (You are right with your 1 to 10 ratio, everyone I know did stop watching NASCAR after FOX except me) Thats only because I quickly learned where the mute button was on my remote and purchased a separate SIRIUS package for my home. I do hope that Myers returns, let us give him a REAL look over. I do agree that as a fan I will be paying closer attention to FOX's presentation. Hopefully if Suzy returns she will remember that the season started in February. Or maybe now that she is a sophomore in NASCAR reporting her efforts will just be better. Maybe her freshman informative lessons were more for her own good not ours.

Matt said...

I gotta disagree with you on this one, John. With Chris Myers and FOX, you know what you are getting. If you are expecting "Masterpiece Theatre-NASCAR Style", you won't get it from Myers and the HH crew. But we know that. We expect that. FOX and Chris should not be forced to change the way they broadcast races because the other networks that share the contract can't pull their weight and broadcast NASCAR the proper way. Some things need to be fixed on FOX's coverage, but this is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

While sometimes Chris Myers reverts to the SportsCenter -type sarcasm a bit too much, I like him.

I like pre-race shows (or I did until last season), and I always liked the Chris Myers taped interview segment with the drivers. I liked the "10 Laps" segments in 2006 more than the "Photo Finish" segments in 2007, The Photo Finish feature was a great idea, but the segments seemed to be short and very rushed unlike 2006. I hope he has features similar to the 10 Laps with Chris Myers again - it was always mentioned among fans in my age group about who was going to be on 10 Laps that week. Chris Myers is a big part of making the Fox preshow entertaining.

ABC/ESPN pre-race shows completely dropped the ball this year since they were neither informative or entertaining. (Note to ESPN: You have Dave Burns. Use him in the preshow; he would do well with the Chris Myers type-features as well as excelling in the pits.)

The only thing I hated is when Myers always said "Here on Fox, where America gathers every Sunday". While he probably didn't write it, I always thought that line was incredibly pompous (but typical of FOX)- that all of America was sitting and watching NASCAR - and was waiting for one of the other leagues to complain.

They obviously did, because last season the line changed to, "Here on Fox, where America gathers every Sunday for NASCAR".

Sandie said...

Chris has grown on me and even the guys joke about his lack of knowledge. At Sears Point 2K3, Jr. and Happy 'broke into' the Hotel and did a comedy bit making fun of Chris.

I think Chris is different from Suzy in the simple fact that he can laugh at his lack of knowledge and that's his shtick. While some may wonder *why* he's still there, he doesn't overstep his boundaries. He stays in the Hotel where he knows he belongs. He's not down their on the grid asking drivers asinine questions, while they look around waiting for someone anyone to rescue them!

Anonymous said...

"The one thing that Myers does not have on his resume, other than the Hollywood Hotel, is NASCAR. While on-air hosts like John Roberts, Steve Byrnes and Krista Voda slug-it-out in the NASCAR trenches each week, Myers is off to other sports once the Fox package ends. To Myers, NASCAR is a job and not a lifestyle"

Myers has NASCAR on his resume from 2001, Voda from 2003.
Do you hold it agaist Byrnes since in the past he also called NFL games on FOX?
Myers talks NASCAR and has many drivers on his National radio show "The Drive" year round.
I think the hosts can get a good feel for the sport covering it live for 18 vs 36 races.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:56AM,

I think you might have missed the point of the column a bit. No one is criticizing Myers, who is one of the most versatile announcers in the business.

What we are pointing out is that one out of every ten NASCAR TV viewers was gone by Homestead. That is a staggering number.

The single element that forces change in TV is viewership. Sponsors come and go, but ratings drive the bus.

The point of this column was that if Fox experiences the kind of ratings drop that TNT and ESPN had, they will look to change the on-air team.

Putting an on-air "talent" like Steve Byrnes or John Roberts from SPEED into that position may be something that ratings forces them to do. Who knows, it may also be the right thing to do.

They are not going to dump a DW or Larry Mac, and Mike Joy is the best in the business. Guys like Jeff Hammond and Larry Mac will work thirty-nine or more weekends this year on the NASCAR trail.

We are absolutely not taking shots at Myers, only pointing out that due to the Suzy Kolber train wreck the eyes are on the pre-show and infield host like never before.

Thanks for you comment, I hope this helped to clarify where I was coming from on this topic.

JD

Ritchie said...

John,

I agree that we will naturally compare Chris to Suzy, however I think it is important to keep in mind that the two broadcasts are not that similar to each other.

The FOX team is comprised of two veterans (DW & Jeff) who are always on the verge of being out of control and it is Chris' job is to control the action for TV purposes. With DW & Jeff in the "Hotel", no one will ever have to bring them out of their shell. Chris does a good job of having fun, while at the same time keeping the show on track. However on ESPN, there really isn't any chemistry and they hired Suzy to generate conversation. Suzy is woefully under-qualified for this job. Someone with copious amounts of NASCAR knowledge would work well in that position.

As with anything on television, no one is going to be liked by everyone. Broadcasts can only hope to please the majority. Personally, after this many years of NASCAR coverage I think Chris has done well enough in this role. I don't have a problem with him earning money in other sports broadcasts as long as he maintains an acceptable level of entertainment in his racing job.

Lenny said...

JD,

Excellent points regarding Suzy Kolber and ESPN's coverage of our sport. Ms. Kolber is a high quality professional journalist for ESPN that got placed into a position where she clearly did not fit. Same goes for EK - I listened to his ESPN radio show before he left to host NASCAR. I remember the day he announced he was leaving the radio. I said then that was a bad choice because he is incredibly knowledgeable at football, baseball, and basketball but is way out of his league in racing. Most radio personalities are successful not because what they say is accurate or truthful, but because they evoke an emotional (positive or negative) reaction in their listeners. Those reactions turn into ratings for their shows.
That being said, I think Chris Myers will benefit from the failures of the ESPN debacle. Much similiar to my reaction to seeing John Roberts on Speed Monday, I think people will be happy and relieved to see some experience and professionalism the sport has earned.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with most posters here. Chris Myers is a waste of "airspace". His stupid jokes and puns are just that - stupid - and it makes him look, well "stupid". It seems that he is trying to bring some "pop-culture" to the broadcast with his "10 Laps" and "Photo Finish" segments and we all remember how well that concept worked....NOT.

Chris has been part of the NASCAR broadcast team for some years now, but that still doesn't mean he belongs. He's still an outsider and his playing the "I don't know anything about NASCAR" role has gone on too long. If he wants to be respected as an insider, then he needs to act like one! The HH is a joke. I like the idea of an infield studio, but why can't a NASCAR broadcaster take over the pre-race show?

ESPN/TNT need lots of work and that has all been spelled out pretty clearly here, but FOX is still a work in progress in my opinion they should't rest on their laurels. Remember the ratings decline began under their watch!

Anonymous said...

IMO, Chris Meyers has made a place for himself in Nascar broadcasting.

By playing the dummy, he can ask the questions newcomers have without the patronizing/irritating "For those of you who are new to Nascar, ...," stuff.

By being willing to laugh at himself and making the drivers comfortable enough to laugh with him and make fun of him in a friendly way he stays within the "family gathering" feel of the Fox broadcast -- like an eccentric uncle at the reunion.

Yes, Myers if a bit of a dork, but to paraphrase Robert Asprin in Phule's Company, he may be a dork, but he's OUR dork. And in having chosen to play that role he's made himself a contact point between Fox's Nascar insiders, who might forget at times that not everyone knows everything they know, and the rest of the world.

Tripp said...

JD said:
The point of this column was that if Fox experiences the kind of ratings drop that TNT and ESPN had, they will look to change the on-air team.

To simply blame Myers if this drop occurs is short-sighted at best. Many here believe the big ratings slide in the 2007 season is the fault of TNT's ineptitude and ESPN's myopic arrogance, but do we know that to be fact? Not so much.

If the ratings continue their recent slide through the first races of the 2008 season then all three networks need to take a macro view of the sport and work with NASCAR to figure out what isn't working. The indication would be that the sport has a problem, not the networks. But if the Fox ratings bounce back to something resembling last year's levels, then NASCAR needs to take the lead in assessing the issues and lean on TNT and ESPN for improvements.

If Fox has ratings problems, replacing Myers would not be an effective solution.

chase said...

JD: For years, I have wondered exactly what was the purpose of having Myers on FOX. They sure don't need him and his 'pufferies' are not even remotely amusing nor informational. The FOX team can handle everything very well without him. I have seen him briefly during a recent football game (I don't 'do' football but was just channel surfing)and was horrified that his role was the same as his role on FOX - playing the fool. Haven't we had enough of Kolber (she always struck me as looking half-dead and totally disinterested with no personality whatsoever) and her ilk? If anything, FOX should try a season without Myers -- and I am betting that they will be just fine. FOX, in my opinion, has always stepped up to the plate and made changes and, despite hating the words uttered by DW "BBB", I'm fine with FOX. What bothers me is what we're all going to have to face when ESPN takes over!

Anonymous said...

As Jeff Hammond said last year (near the end of the Fox run), "We don't kid because we don't care."

Myers is clearly the weak link on the Fox team. He never seems comfortable, and as Hammond's comment suggests, his co-workers aren't comfortable with him.

Plus, he's always assigned the "silly" elements like the gameshow spoofs that I'm betting the real NASCAR guys would be embarrassed to have to do. Don't know if he likes them, but both they and he could go and the broadcast would be improved.

earl06 said...

I have to admit that up until ESPN took over the races last year, I didn't enjoy Chris Myers or the Pre-Race on Fox. At this point, I'm looking forward to them.

The question is: Is this because Fox actually has been doing a good job and I haven't recognized it? Or has ESPN degraded my expectations so badly that anything (even Chris Myers) will seem like an improvement.

At this point, I really don't know.

Anonymous said...

OKAY!! We have the lesser of two evils now. So, what's our third choice?

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...

I think you might have missed the point of the column a bit. No one is criticizing Myers, who is one of the most versatile announcers in the business.


Wow. If that wasn't criticism ("odd man out", "journeyman", "goofy humor and embarrasing moments") I'd sure hate to see you actually criticize someone.

The point of the column was very clear. You want Myers out and Roberts or Byrnes in. I think you're backing off because several folks are fine with Myers in his role.

Fans praise the silly elements and skits of "Raceday" - which is a very good show. I'm sure you recall when the gang dressed up as the American Idol judges (actually quite witty), or 90 percent of the things they do with Jimmy and Kenny - yet Myers is goofy and embarrasing? Raceday is justly praised because it's relaxed and fun. Why critize others shows for having that element?

Thornton, Colorado said...

Why in the hell do we need the Hollywood Hotel anyway? It was an obvious attempt at connecting Jeff "Hollywood" Hammond and the glitz of Hollywood. Well, the joke was cute and funny for the first ten minutes, but after 6 years, it's throw-up time.
There is no need for an infield studio EVER! What in the hell are the pit reporters for? If you need a technical breakdown of an on track issue, then fine, talk to Hammond- BY HIMSELF! An infield studio,hotel, or whatever you want to call it is just an excuse to shove in "extra" celebrities, and use it a tie-in to promote worthless, no-talent movies.
Like an earlier poster said:This aint rocket technology.
And to borrow from that no-talent bum Rhianna, "Shut up and show the race!"

Lisa Hogan said...

Pre-race shows are not that important to me. I will usually have RACEDAY on; otherwise, I have the mute button.

The actual race coverage is where my concerns lie.

I don’t dislike Chris Myers. I dislike his act. Sarcasm and put-down humor, on occasion, are acceptable; as a steady diet, not so much.

I’ve always thought that the Hollywood Hotel and the Infield Studio inserts were to give the crew in the booth a break. During green flag racing, I just want to see the cars on the track. If the booth needs a break, how about giving us an extra “Crank it up”?

Cutting away from the track should be kept at a minimum by all the networks. Even the best in the business is not met with happiness when we all just want to see the cars on the track.

I have hope that FOX/TNT/ESPN have been reading our comments and will make some changes to better their coverage. Please, less toys and faces and more cars on the track.

Anonymous said...

Comment to poster that is connecting Raceday with the Hollywood Hotel: Raceday is on BEFORE the race, when it won't interfere with RACING. The Hollywood Hotel is on DURING the race, and is an obvious distraction. No one is questioning Chris Myers talents, but let's keep it simple: We aren't here for Chris Myers, or Jeff Hammond for that matter. We are here for 43 drivers, the crews, and ,oh yeah, THE FANS.

Anonymous said...

I like Chris Myers. He's been there from the start and replacing him now would be a step back in my opinion. Chris Myers isn't a Suzy Kolber because Chris works well with the Fox crew. Who can forget the All-Star race in 2001 and the water guns???

Anonymous said...

"Do I ever want Myers in the broadcast booth for a race? Absolutely not.

Would I cry if Krista Voda or Steve Byrnes replaced him as the studio host? Not at all.

But am I going to be offended by Chris Myers like I was when Chris Fowler, Suzy Kolber, Brent Musburger, and Erik Kuselias suddenly became NASCAR hosts last year? No.

My respect for NASCAR on-air personalities has to be earned over a course of time. For me 7 years has been enough for Mr. Myers to earn my respect."

Stricklinfan82's comment says it all.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind Chris Myers. Actually he's really the only part of the Fox coverage I do like. I wish they would give Mike Joy a mute button to shut Darrell and Larry up when they talk all over each other and it's a good thing I don't own a gun. I probably would have shot myself or my tv just so I don't have to hear Darrell's whiney voice and that aweful boogity crap!
Oh, and these folks go to broadcast journelism school and should be able to report on ANY sport! BTW - Krista Voda doesn't just cover NASCAR, she's also a field report covering college football.

Anonymous said...

The only positive I can see in Myers is that he does not use double negatives and other nails on the blackboard grammer mistakes.If the people in the booth need a break, let them just shut up and show the race (maybe someone other than the first two cars.)

Ken said...

I think the coverage on Fox will have a hard act to follow--themselves. Many have been praising what a good job they did last year. Was it really or was it only as compared with the coverage that followed? Viewers will be looking at the Fox coverage differently this year and like the old ESPN, the quality of the coverage might be partly in our imagination.

I might be different than most viewers. I didn't like the Fox coverage last year but I only liked it better than what followed.

GinaV24 said...

Chris Myers has played the role that Fox wanted him to in the HH with Hammond & DW, so it's probably not fair to blame him for the problems. I think that Fox/TNT and ESPN are all going to have to step up to keep the fans interested in watching racing on TV. I stopped watching the pre-race shows on the networks once Speed started showing RACEDAY because it was so much better than anything the networks were doing AND I'd pretty much seen and heard all of the "shtick" before from the FOX crew and I already knew that the TNT crew would be hideous since they had been that way from the beginning in 2001. Like most of the race fans, first and foremost I want to see the race and it would be even better if it were called by people who didn't act stupid. There is a difference between funny and stupid and unfortunately I think that all of the NASCAR network broadcasting has fallen into the stupid side of things, no matter what network it is being shown on.

Vince said...

Hollywood Hotel prerace with Myers, DW and Hammond is like watching the Three Stooges. In fact when ever my wife hears me yell, "The Three Stooges are on." she knows who I'm talking about.

In any case, I hope we all take a closer look at FOX's coverage this year. Are they really better than ESPN/ABC or is it just that they've been covering the races longer and we're just more comfortable with them?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Wow, what diverse comments on the same subject. It certainly is interesting to see the many different ways that TV shows affect us and the opinions that we form from watching them.

JD

Anonymous said...

The only positive I can see in Myers is that he does not use double negatives and other nails on the blackboard grammer mistakes.
But can he spell "grammar" correctly?

Anonymous said...

---The point of this column was that if Fox experiences the kind of ratings drop that TNT and ESPN had, they will look to change the on-air team.

Well we haven't heard for sure if ESPN or TNT *are* changing their on-air teams despite the awful coverage and ratings drop - so why would FOX if that happened to them?

Can't say I'd be shocked if ESPN and TNT kept the same teams this year, except maybe Nascar Now.

GregB said...

Chris Myers is lame as a racing host. His "Hollywood Hotel" is lame , too. His desk bell is annoying. His humor sucks and is wasted on a real race fan. If this was Twilight Zone, I'd put him in the "corn field".

Anonymous said...

anon said: ABC/ESPN pre-race shows completely dropped the ball this year since they were neither informative or entertaining. (Note to ESPN: You have Dave Burns. Use him in the preshow; he would do well with the Chris Myers type-features as well as excelling in the pits.)

January 9, 2008 2:45 AM

I looooove Dave Burns. ESPN totally clammed him up this year and it was rotten. So boring like their boring network. I know he's supposed to be serious on pit row and he is but they used to let him do fun stuff before the race.

Some of it wasn't really funny or silly but it was entertaining stories off track - example Kasey Kahne's charity drifting race event where some NASCAR drivers came out to try to learn drifting against the pros.

Plus Carl Edwards taught Dave how to back flip! That would never happen today because ESPN/ABC = "yawn"

Wisconsin Steve said...

Myers has expressed in several recent interviews with newspapers and web sites that he would be interested in hosting a NASCAR interview show. Maybe his credibility with NASCAR fans would improve if FOX gave him a SPEED gig where he could interview people.

Anonymous said...

From a life long Nascar fan. Is it really who or how the prerace show is being presented? Or could it be that the racing has become so boring that it can't hold our attention like in years past. I believe thats why the ratings have and will continue to drop.

Rich said...

I have no problem with Mr Myers. The driver seem to enjoy talking with him on those little prerace segments he does.
My problem is with the total broadcast. I think they are trying to give too much info and has made it a case of MORE IS LESS. They need to get back to the basics of racing and show the race. I don't care what makes those cars do what they do, I just want to see them perform. KISS! KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!!!

KoHoSo said...

Anonymous said...Is it really who or how the prerace show is being presented? Or could it be that the racing has become so boring that it can't hold our attention like in years past.

January 9, 2008 3:59 PM


Somebody give this Anonymous a cookie! He gets it!

Yes, folks, the NASCAR broadcasting has been awful. In my view, it began with this entry's main subject -- the inclusion of a clueless "faceboy" into an otherwise sensible (if not likable or competent) broadcasting team. ESPN merely finished off what Fox started.

And, while I take great joy (and I don't mean Mike) in reading this blog to see how so many are rebelling against the crud we were force-fed through 2007, in my view it is only one-quarter of the problem. Anonymous quoted above has the often-missed quarter of boring racing (yes, Michael Waltrip...races can be boring). The other half is all on NASCAR for its rule making (and I use those words loosely), turning its back on both its long-time and family-based fans, and all other sorts of issues.

Mr. Daly, I apologize for taking my comments a bit off of the topic. But, I could not miss the inspiration given by "Anonymous 3:59" to point out that the performance of Chris Meyers or any other NASCAR talking head is not the whole picture when it comes to why ratings dropped so dramatically. I even dare to say that we could all put up with (fill in the name of your least favorite NASCAR TV personality here) if the on-track product was returned to its previous high standards.

Anonymous said...

I watch a lot of sports: MLB, NBA, NFL. Watch the pre-game shows for those sports. Ernie, Kenny, and Barkley are always joking around. Ernie doesn't profess to being a NBA expert -- he's a show host.

Ever watch the CBS NFL pre-game show? Bradshaw and Howie?

The thing is, the Nascar shows just mimic most professional sports today.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Very good analysis. I do happen to enjoy Chris Myers, because of his attitude, and give him an A for effort. I look at him as a facilitator, not an information source. I would also give Suzy K at least a B+ for effort - and in a tough situation. On the other hand, I would give Erik K & Brent Mushberger failing grades because they came across as feeling that an effort to learn what they were talking about was beneath them.

I think it is quite unfortunate that each year now FOX has to dig out of the hole that NBC, TNT, and now ESPN have dug for them. Seems to me that FOX and Chris Myers are on a hot-seat not of their making.

jeff said...

Chris Meyers and his ilk are the bane of NA$CAR broadcasts, IMO their are far too many "announcers" on all the broadcasts. The HH is in the same category as the "draft tracker" and all the other gee whiz gadgets they waste time on. Just show the race, chuck the dead weight and quit playing all the stupid games. I will most definitely be tuned into the radio while the race is on.

Newracefan said...

Chris Meyers is not a problem for me except the kid/care comment, which has gotten really old. Making fun of each other without malice or taking personal offense isn't easy do pull off. The guys on Trackside have it down to an art form. It doesn't work quite as well with Myers but it works well enough that I would not want to change it too much. I also agree that I'd like to see less of the Hotel during the race but I never thought of it as a break for the booth until a poster brought it up and that actually makes me more tolerant but split screen it so we don't miss green flag racing. I would hate to see Myers be the scape goat for poor ratings, 7 years is a long time to do something and then be told you are the problem. I also think he can still be crediable asking those "new fan" type questions since he was never hands on, never grew up in the sport, etc. John Roberts asks questions on RaceDay and Tradin Paint all the time and we respect him for it. Just my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Brent Mushberger failing grades because they came across as feeling that an effort to learn what they were talking about was beneath them.

I will remind readers that Musberger actually said, during ABC's first race of the season, "Now, I'm not much of a NASCAR guy..."

Can you imagine what would happen if someone on-air at an NFL game said, "Now, I'm not really much of a pro football guy..."?

Yeah. Same thing should have happened here.

Richard in N.C. said...

I believe there is a big difference, regardless of the sport, in (a) an announcer's not knowing (when they start out)and (b) not giving any indication they care to learn. I'd put Suzy K and Chris Myers in the first category, and cut them some slack,but put Brent M. and Erik K. in the 2nd category - and be insulted if they make no apparent effort to learn the sport they are announcing, whether it is racing or curling.

Tabula Rasa said...

daly planet editor said...

The point of this column was that if Fox experiences the kind of ratings drop that TNT and ESPN had, they will look to change the on-air team.


That doesn't really hold water as the ratings for the 2007 FOX portion of the season were off from 2006 numbers in relatively equal proportion to the TNT & ESPN portions of the season

Jayski's Ratings Page:
http://www.jayski.com/pages/tvratings2007.htm

Sports Business Daily NASCAR Ratings
http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/index.cfm?storyid=SBD2007072505&requesttimeout=500&fuseaction=sbd.main

Anonymous said...

I adore Chris Myers. He can do no wrong as far as I am concerned. Yes I am a woman. Chris may not have known anything about the sport when he started but he was willing to learn and has. He is a fan of sports and a pro at what he does which is inform and entertain. The guys in the hotel have a chemistry that works, as well as Fox's booth talent. It is not the fellas on the air for Fox that make Fox undesirable. They are prepared,informative, entertaining, and serious when they need to be. Let's face it, some of these races are way too long and become somewhat boring so it is a relief when the guys show some levity. The problems with Nascar television coverage as far as Fox is concerned is not with the visible faces but the higher ups who just can't seem to make enough money. Or maybe more to the point,paid too much money. I bet Chris is good with his money.

Anonymous said...

I think Fox's coverage is horrible when compared to the glory days of ESPN. And what's funny is they had the same guy, Neil Goldberg, producing the Fox races. What happened to Neil?

But when you compare Fox to TNT and ESPN, Fox looks great. And what happened to Neil Goldberg? Well, he went back to ESPN and took his bag of tricks from Fox with him. It's like he created a poor clone of what he did at Fox.

Of course, what we don't hear about is what's contained in the contract with NASCAR. If you pay close attention, you'll notice that NASCAR's "fingerprints" are all over the race coverage with all the "storylines" going on and how everything is rosy. That's right out of soap operas and the WWE. And who was just let go by NASCAR? A former WWE employee. Their media guru.

Unless or until the coverage is actually left to the networks without the behind the scenes input from the Frances and their cronies, we're going to have to accept mediocrity as being the best that can be offered by the networks when it comes to the race coverage. What use to be racing has become racertainment under the hand of Hollywood Brian.

This season, the mute button will be on so I can listen to the radio coverage. At least they can call a race in a decent manner.

Daly Planet Editor said...

tabula,

I think you have to look at the bigger picture. Fox had no idea that the ratings slide would continue the way it did, and can now only react to the season-long problem.

While last season's early ratings drop was a surprise, this Feb the pressure will be on the day after the 500. As you know all too well, it is TV after all.

JD

Anonymous said...

Sorry to all,

Chris Meyers for as good as he is. It is just not NASCAR. I feel for both new and old NASCAR fans. He just does not fit. I remember a conversation I had with a person who is on the show with him at Martinsville. And even though it is not CM's fault. He does have to go. JD once again thank you for this blog.

Lou
Kingston, NY

Delenn said...

Apart from the kid/care comment, Myers is fine. "Photo Finish" was lame, but that's not his fault. "10 laps with" was fun. I would hate to take John Roberts from Trackside, but Krista would work for me (although the inaccurate comparisons with Suzy might not be helpful.)

My problem is actually more with Hammond. I can't say why, but I just wish he'd spend more time being the championship winning crew chief and less time being a fool. They certainly made the right choice putting Larry in the booth.

I do hope they don't try to beat the Dish Tech Center. Poor Tim never saw the sun, and quite frankly was more likely to be parked in a car park in Bristol (Connecticut that is) not near a track.

I also hate the new Hollywood Hotel. I liked the old one where they just looked out of the side of the truck. The new one with the camera shot is lame.

Myers neither makes nor breaks Nascar on Fox. I was expecting JDs point to be the following: I hope Fox really put the boot in to TNT and ESPN. They are already ahead - if they worked at it, they could produce a run on Nascar programmes for the ages, and put the others to shame.

Rich said...

I had to come back with one more comment. Myers and all of the oyher onair commentaers are at the mercy of the guy back in the booth that's telling them what to do next in those little ear phones. Maybe we need to look at that part of the broadcast for some improvement. Yes that director may know how to call the shots, but if he isn't a NASCAR guy , then how does he know which shots to call?? Somebody back there who knows the sport would probably even make Rusty look better.

Anonymous said...

A better alternative to Chris Myers and his condescending ways:
Isn't Bob Jenkins somewhere on the Fox/Speed payroll?

A note to ESPN: Sack Rusty and put DJ in his spot; Jarrett was not only a better driver, but is a better commentator. The chemistry between Petree and DJ is obvious and that comes with time and can't be contrived. Put Dr. Jerry in Kolber's spot; he's a fish-out-of-water as a play-by-play man and Bestwick and his hair is a better play-by-play announcer. Daugherty tries, but let him try in Nationwide.

Anonymous said...

Myers and all of the oyher onair commentaers are at the mercy of the guy back in the booth that's telling them what to do next in those little ear phones. Maybe we need to look at that part of the broadcast for some improvement.

And, some talent is still better than others. Don't blame the producer for Myers' poor performance, but like you can't credit the producer for Bestwick's excellent peformance.

Billy Delyon said...

I'm not getting the 'every one disagrees with you post JD'.

It seems to me from the above comments its about 50-50 on the like him or not like him...

I completely got your post, and if the ratings keep sliding (they were down for FOX also last season) they may need to shake it up and get a Burns or Roberts in there for the pre-race that can talk nascar and actually knows what they are talking about.

As I've said all along, keep up the good work JD.

Anonymous said...

I’ll admit I am not a fan of Mr. Myers, but to put him under the gun for any ratings loss seems unfair. Down here in rural Missouri, at least one in every ten race fans I know does not have cable TV or satellite TV.

When your fans can’t get your broadcasts, how can you keep up your ratings?

Anonymous said...

"I kid because..." Probably the most irritating thing about NASCAR on FOX. I vomit each time that ass speaks. Anyone remember the packages with Myers out amongst the fans? Entertainment poison.