Saturday, April 26, 2008
Fox And SPEED Force Viewers To Choose
Last season, it was interesting when SPEED changed the schedule of RaceDay so that it aired during the TNT pre-race shows. This practice continued during the ESPN/ABC portion of the Sprint Cup schedule, putting RaceDay head-to-head against NASCAR Countdown.
This Sunday, NASCAR fans will have another interesting TV experience when the final thirty minutes of the two hour RaceDay show overlaps with the first thirty minutes of the NASCAR on Fox pre-race show from the Hollywood Hotel. Fox is on-the-air at 1PM, and RaceDay runs until 1:30PM Eastern Time.
As most TV veterans know, the SPEED network is actually owned by the Fox Cable Networks group. On many weekends, including this one from Talladega, the NASCAR on Fox announcers appear on SPEED to host the Sprint Cup practice and qualifying sessions.
Now, for whatever reason, the broadcast side of the Fox TV Programming Department has extended the Hollywood Hotel pre-race show to almost ninety minutes. Even though Fox is on at 1PM, the race does not start until 2:20PM. One hour and twenty mintes of pre-race programming on Fox and two hours of exactly the same thing on SPEED.
This forces NASCAR fans to either continue to watch Fox's own cable TV motorsports network, or change channels to the Fox broadcast network and the Hollywood Hotel. It also puts RaceDay's news reporter Wendy Venturini and the NASCAR on Fox pit reporters on-the-air at the same time from the same location.
The Raceday line-up includes guests Juan Pablo Montoya and Greg Biffle. Venturini's popular Real Deal feature is an interview with Ken Schrader. That should be interesting. Of course, there is the one-and-only Rutledge Wood who this week goes fishing with the guys from Hendrick Motorsports.
John Roberts, Kenny Wallace and Jimmy Spencer will also be doing something very interesting in the final hour of the show. They will be leaving the SPEED Stage and heading trackside to "soak up" the festive atmosphere of Talladega.
This means that almost the entire RaceDay cast will be on-the-air live only feet from the Hollywood Hotel while the Fox Network broadcast is also live. I am not quite so sure what this situation accomplishes for either NASCAR or the two Fox TV networks involved.
Viewers will have to make the choice at 1PM, and it should be interesting to see how this affects the total program rating for the NASCAR on Fox telecast. From time to time, things do get interesting in "TV land."
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