Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Manske At ESPN And Ready For "NASCAR Now"


After a very brief and non-emotional sign-off from The SPEED Report, Nicole Mankse has already made her way to ESPN and her brand-new program series, NASCAR Now.

Manske moves from a general motorsports hour on Sunday nights to one of the highest-profile TV positions in the country. Joined by Ryan Burr and Allen Bestwick as substitute hosts, NASCAR Now is trying to make a clean break from the show's first season and "begin again."

The big moves by ESPN several days ago show the concern by the network executives that things were not going in a good direction. More than that, however, they show that ESPN listened to both the NASCAR fans and the NASCAR community.

Rather than step-into the host "shoes" of Erik Kuselias, Manske will be given the benefit of the doubt and allowed to create her own style on the show. She has been working regularly on SPEED, and hung-in there during some rather trying times for The SPEED Report when it first started.

This is exactly what ESPN needed to start this season. A new face in the NASCAR Now studio, a new face as the lead analyst in the announce booth for races, and some veteran NASCAR support for Brad Daugherty in the Infield Studio.

NASCAR Now with Nicole Manske debuts on Monday, February 4th at 6PM Eastern Time on ESPN2.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button and follow the easy instructions. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and leave your opinion.

45 comments:

Brian said...

We'll have to wait and see, I'm not too enthusiastic about this. That new face should of been Bestwick or Ryan Burr full time, rather than just subs. I just don't know. It looks like Speed has provided us with more to be exciting with, than ESPN.

Newracefan said...

I'll give it a try but they will have to win my viewership which is harder the second time around.

TexasRaceLady said...

I'm going to give the girl a chance. But, if it turns into "cleavage reporting" --- I'm gone.

SophiaZ123 said...

Ditto to Texas Race Lady.

I still remember the SPEED REPORT with the low cut dress, 'ill placed mic' and huge shadow over the area from the lighting, LOL.

Fixed part way thru the show....man oh man...that would never happen with AB hosting. :) :) :)

haus20 said...
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haus20 said...

At least she is prettier than eriK K...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Really cute outfit in that picture-really! But is it really appropriate for a host of a daily ESPN sports program? I don't think most of the women on ESPN - if any - dress that way on air.

No one is mentioning that this show is still going to originate from Bristol and not the Charlotte area. That means a bunch of satellite interviews every day instead of being able to have drivers/owners/crew members on set in person.

That's a major thing that should have changed this season.

SophiaZ123 said...

Anon 11.59

You think the photo is INAPPROPRIATE????

Obviously you never saw how this woman was dressed on the SPEED REPORT...sometimes very low cut dresses and they looked like prom dresses...then there was the square dance outfit.

Sorry, this photo is TAME compared to some of the outfits.

I hope the boys take over NN. I have nothing against seeing attractive women in sports but when they use that sexy look at the camera that says Come here big boy, credibility goes out the window and that's all i will say.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

No one is mentioning that this show is still going to originate from Bristol and not the Charlotte area. That means a bunch of satellite interviews every day instead of being able to have drivers/owners/crew members on set in person.

January 30, 2008 11:59 PM

I just read the NASCAR Notebook article on sportingnews, its new on Jayski. It says NASCAR is providing free HD-ready equipment to all the top teams to have studios in their shops. Ganassi got it first.

It'll still be satellitte, but maybe more frequent appearances from drivers since its at the shop.

Shorebilly said...

Ok so the show will air at 6PM, om Monday February 4th! If I decide to tune in, will I find that it has already aired at 5:30?? Or will I find some stick and ball stuff with no apology or direction that the show will air at 6:30 or 7 PM??
Whomever happens to be the show's host, I think a major part of the low ratings for NASCAR Now is the inconsistency in the actual time slot that the show is aired. I will tune in at 6PM to watch unless SPEED has a similar show in the same time slot. SPEED/FOX understands punctuality, and they produce better programming!

Anonymous said...

You know a program had problems when the addition of a woman known more for her willingness to expose cleavage than for her sports knowledge is an improvement.

Ritchie said...

Everyone, let's take a deep breath and stop worrying about the girl's outfits. Honestly, this is television and the visual is as important as anything else. Would everyone be happier if they were looking at someone who was ugly?

And before anyone decides to begin typing about how she is just eye candy, and not a credible host, please take a moment to remember her other hosting duty. When she was doing the Speed Report, she developed into a credible host who was reporting on several different forms of motorsports during the course of the show. At times she would cover everything from F1 to the Knoxville nationals. That would be impressive on its own standing, but I never heard her mispronounce the name of a rally driver, or mock a late model dirt driver.

I am sure someone can come up with a mistake she made during the course of her career, but no one can deny that she has developed into a competant announcer. If we put the woman in a burka, would we all be happy then?

steadicam_clay said...

According to Wikipedia, Nicole Manske and Danika Patrick were cheerleaders on the same squad in high school. Maybe that says something, maybe it doesn't.

SGee said...

Well, I think she will be a great improvement to the show.
Also, since she gets to take the show in the direction she wants too, I hope she steers it to the hardcore fans.
Since the show is on opposite of SportCenter, they should know causual fans will be sticking to ESPN.
I am going to give NN another try this year, I just really wish I didn't come on at the start of SC...or replayed later on at night....
Manske will be great for the show.

Anonymous said...

For better or for worse, ESPN has a dress code.

Marty, Boris and all the other NASCAR Now people have to wear suit jackets and ties. Boris tried to get away with wearing no tie as long as he could, I remember reading him say that, but eventually the tie went on. Marty had to fix his crazy hair because it wasn't ESPN appropriate. Do you think they would dress the ESPN way on their off days, by choice? No, they do it because it's the standard. Mike Joy and the guys wear shirts and ties on Sunday because it's the professional broadcaster thing to do.

So why should Nicole Manske get to wear whatever she wants? There's a big gap between what's she wearing in that picture and a burka. Nicole needs to look into that area and find something professional to wear. She doesn't have to wear an 80s business suit with shoulder pads and a scarf around her neck, but come on - does the photo above say "I host an in depth show about NASCAR racing on ESPN" to most people? No, it says "Hmmm. That girl is kinda hot. Is this one of those NOPI shows?".

I don't need to take a deep breath - I want the people I watch on TV to look professional and I don't see a problem with saying that or contacting the network and expressing my concerns if she doesn't dress professionally.

Or I can simply choose not to attempt to watch NASCAR Now. I gave it up last year, I can do it again.

Anonymous said...

"Manske will be given the benefit of the doubt and allowed to create her own style on the show."

Based on that promotional photograph, I'm thinking NASCAR NOW 2008 = NASCAR Nation - The Return of Leanne Tweeden's Little Sister

Seriously: Doesn't that look like a Leanne photograph for the old NASCAR Nation?

Ritchie said...

Anon 9:45,

First of all, my point was that she knows more about racing than a majority of the people at ESPN, and based on her resume she is qualified to do the job. As long as she speaks well, and acts intelligent I find it hard to believe that anyone would have a problem with her, regardless of how she dresses.

Second of all, I didn't say that she should wear a burka; I asked if that would make people like you happy. The picture shown is how young women dress today. It is contemporary business dress and it isn't provocative at all. The fact of the matter is that she is beautiful, which means that anything that she wears is going to look good on her.

I said it before, and I will say it again. We complain about Eric K. because he knows nothing about NASCAR, so ESPN makes a change. They hire Ms. Manske and everyone complains that she dresses too provocatively. Maybe ESPN should just hire ugly people and we won't be having this discussion.

richard said...

If she gets rid of the fake squeak in her voice that she used during the Speed Report, I will be happy.

I think she and Drew were no more than pretty talking heads just reading que cards, however the ESPN show was so unwatchable that any change might help. I was only able to make myself watch the show 2 or 3 times before I gave up.

I am thrilled that she and Drew will be gone from the Speed Report, it sounds like it may be moving in the direction of no personalities, just reporting.

Anonymous said...

I don't think ESPN understands the problem.

There are any number of qualified journalists or hosts (male and female) who would be well-suited for this job.

But instead, they hire a woman who has been mocked and derided by serious race fans the whole time she's been on the SPEED Report.

Maybe that isn't such a surprise, given the kinds of decisions ESPN's ben known to make

haus20 said...
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bcammack said...

They really did try to cast her as the little blonde pop tart when she first started on Speed Report, but somehow they allowed her to morph into a dark-haired, sensibly-dressed and fairly competent reporter towards the end of her stint.

I suspect it was her current form that caught ESPN's eye.

I hope Fox learned something from all of this. I still miss Connie LeGrande.

GinaV24 said...

Well, I'll give it a try and give Manske a chance here, but I agree, it should have been Bestwick or Burr as announcer, then the fans would know that ESPN was sincere. I didn't think much of her on Speed Report and I agree that shallow or not, appearances do make a difference and she should appear dressed as a professional. Also, if NN goes back to being hard to find on ESPN2, I won't be chasing around to find it. I lived without it last year, if they screw around enough, I can live without it forever.

MN24FAN said...

I think we need to focus less how Ms Manske looks, what she is wearing in the picture or for that matter her high school cheerleading experience, and focus more on her resume. She is a competent, qualified, experienced broadcaster and deserves to be shown the respect she has earned.

Whether she succeeds or fails in this position will have everything to do with her on-air performance and credibility and nothing to do with what she is wearing in a promotional photo.

Anonymous said...

"Marty, Boris and all the other NASCAR Now people have to wear suit jackets and ties. Boris tried to get away with wearing no tie as long as he could, I remember reading him say that, but eventually the tie went on. Marty had to fix his crazy hair because it wasn't ESPN appropriate. Do you think they would dress the ESPN way on their off days, by choice? No, they do it because it's the standard. Mike Joy and the guys wear shirts and ties on Sunday because it's the professional broadcaster thing to do."

Maybe that's one of the reasons people don't like the ESPN coverage of NASCAR, it's gotten too corporate. Do you think the average NASCAR (or any sport) fan cares whether or not the broadcaster has on a jacket and tie? I sure don't. As long as the reporter is dressed neatly I don't care if his hair is somewhat spiked or if he/she is wearing a polo and jeans. I think if we took a poll of all the ESPN views 85% would say that they don't care as long as the person is knowledgeable and professional.

Anonymous said...

I think if we took a poll of all the ESPN views 85% would say that they don't care as long as the person is knowledgeable and professional.

Of course, you just made that up.

I know plenty of people who appreciate a professional appearance of a suit. That's probably too old-school for you, but we used to call it "classy."

Wisconsin Steve said...

Good God, people! Give the girl a chance before you start bashing her.

Ritchie said...

Amen, Wisconsin steve, amen.

Dot said...

Im' just glad that Erik Kluelessass is gone.

Anonymous said...

Ritchie said...
"The picture shown is how young women dress today. It is contemporary business dress and it isn't provocative at all."

Not true. Click on the photo for a closeup. The necklace leading directly down to the slightly visible cleavage (which would have been avoided by buttoning one more button) is NOT acceptable in corporate America (and I work for one of the biggest Fortune 500 companies).

I'm going to assume I'm younger than Nicole (I'm 25). I wear those kinds of clothes, miniskirts, very short dresses, you name it. I like them. :-) I do NOT wear them to work and if I did, someone would call me over into a conference room and tell me politely not to wear it again. Even on the days we can wear jeans in the office, no one wears tight jeans and tight shirts that we wear out at night. Because we're not stupid.

This is not Entertainment Tonight, it's NASCAR Now. The only place Nicole's clothes could be considered "contemporary business dress" are perhaps advertising or PR agencies and then only when meeting with certain clients. This is not that old show (Ally McBeal?) which I always hear referenced when people say that's what women wear. No they don't.

But I've got no issues with Nicole (I never watch SPEED Report for more than a second while we're waiting for Victory Lane, but I've seen her some) and will give her a chance. That statement of "this is how young women dress today" made me write in.

elena said...

JD,
I understand that Allen will always be hosting the Monday NN edition every Monday and Nicole and Ryan will rotate the other days rather than be considered substitute hosts.

darbar said...

If this is just another attempt to put a woman in the seat just because of her gender, then I won't be watching Nascar Now. Women fans have to put up with enough T&A on shows like NopeTunervision, and I don't have to put up with it on ESPN. I'll give her a chance, but if she's nothing but window dressing, I'm gone.

elena said...

I'm not sure where that picture was from, but I have to believe that it is not an official picture ESPN would use.

We will probably have a lot of opinions on each of the NN hosts. I was glad to read that after Daytona, NN will be 60 minutes every Monday. It seems like there is so much to cover after a race that I did not know how they were going to do it.

I don't know how Nicole will make her NN duties different, but on Mondays Allen will have a round table discussion each week. I really look forward to that. So at least the people will be in person and not on the phone or just pre-taped.

Since ESPN has decided to have 3 hosts, I guess they hope to be able to gage which one viewers like the most. Mondays may be the only day that has a different format than the other evening shows. Who knows what the Sunday shows will be like????

Vince said...

Good grief people, she hasn't even hosted a show yet and you're nitpicking about her dress and that she's a female and not AB or Burr. Give her a chance already! I watched her on Speed Report and she got better as the year went on last season. As far as I'm concerned, she's already better than Erik K. ever was. So how about we give it a rest and give her a chance?

And to the Annon that is so concerned about what she is wearing. GET A LIFE!!

Anonymous said...

When Marty Reid had a roundtable on Nascar Now, the people weren't there in person. He was talking to a big split screen with three people in three different locations. I doubt Allen is going to be able to get the newsmakers of the week to Bristol every Monday.

Anonymous said...

I'm completely amused by how all the commenters who're getting all emotional in their support of "beautiful" Ms. Manske (she is very pretty) are men. Too funny.

I bet you guys hated Suzy as she wasn't good looking enough for you, correct? I'm sure you'll say Ms. Kolber wasn't knowledgeable enough in her role, yet it's okay that Ms. Manske is Learning and Improving.
So easy to see through.

fbu1 said...

As critical as I've been of ESPN, especially NASCAR Now, in the past, I'm giving ESPN a Mulligan, a free "do over". Erase the blackboard and start again.

The Erik K version of NN was a disaster. Kudos to ESPN for sucking it up and making major changes. The self analysis had to be painful for those involved. Hopefully, the Manske era will be successful. I have a hard time imagining how it could be worse than last year's effort.

I don't quite understand the "hotness" issue regarding Ms Manske. Being attractive has not diminished the journalistic credibility of Ms Voda or Ms Venturini on SPEED. Conversely, putting ESPN's Ms Little in a fire suit did not create a NASCAR journalist.

The new NASCAR Now production team deserves to be given an opportunity to find its groove. I am willing to be impressed.

Shoop said...

She did a great job on SPEED, and I think she'll do a great job on NASCAR Now.

Besides, if you could teach a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to read and talk, I'd watch it ANY DAY over Erik Kuselias.

Just sayin...

AndyPandy said...

To Anonymous at 9:14-

I don't know what it is that is so easy for you to see through. Let me try to explain it to you in simple words. Nicole Mankse is attractive and is a NASCAR reporter. Suzy Kolber is attractive and is an ESPN reporter assigned to do a job on NASCAR broadcasts. Are you with me so far?

One has knowledge of the drivers and the tracks, and can talk intelligently about racing. The other one is an ESPN reporter assigned to do a job on NASCAR reporters. Have I lost you yet?

Given the choice of:
A: an attractive woman who knows what she's talking about,
B: an attractive woman who reads from cards and asks general questions,
C: a man who knows what he's talking about, or
D: Erik

I'd have to go with A or C. Being an honest, straight male, the edge goes to A, but I'd have no problem watching C. No, thanks anyway, but I'll pass on B and D.

How did you do on the quiz?

PS - Some of us don't really care what she's wearing. I'd watch even if she didn't wear a thing, but the segments with Boris might be a challenge.

elena said...

I guess the fact that JD chose to highlight Nicole has gotten some in a tizzy.

Here are the facts. ESPN has 3 new hosts for NN. They are Allen, Ryan and Nicole. None are considered subs. They will rotate the assingment, except that Allen will do all the Monday shows.

If she's great she will keep her job. If she isn't, she'll be gone. I say give her a chance. If you don't like her, she probably will only be on 2-3 times per week.

Anonymous said...

She's had her chance.

It was all last season on SPEED.

Given her lack of skills in covering motorsports and general fan disdain, I can only think of one reason why ESPN would hire her.

And it ain't her vast background in NASCAR.

SophiaZ123 said...

Anon

You are so correct she HAD her chance on SPEED last season. I tried watching or at least LISTENING to that show.

Sorry I am criticizing her but I have WITNESSED HER WORK.

Not to mention a state close to me ...well, let's just say her other reputation precedes her...call it catty...call it BS. If you want to be taken seriously in motorsports...take a lesson from Krista or Wendy.

That's all I am saying.

so before telling folks to 'chill' ASK which ones griping saw her last season on the SPEED REPORT.

NNow could become NASCAR NATION...remember "Cleavage Nation".

Sophia runs from the room !! :-)

I must be off

mookdancer said...
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Anonymous said...

i used to watch the speed report on mute because i could not bare the sound of nicoles voice. what was espn thinking? she is miserable!