Sunday, April 27, 2008
Monday TV Showdown Features The Heavyweights
Following a big racing weekend, both ESPN and SPEED will pull-out the stops to offer their best Monday NASCAR programs. Fewer dates are bigger than this Talladega and Kansas triple-header, so both networks are breaking out the heavyweights.
First up will be ESPN. It will be the trio of Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree and Ray Evernham who will invade the Bristol, CT studios on Monday. Jarrett will appear on First Take in the morning and then join Evernham on ESPNEWS. Petree will be chatting on ESPN.com with the online set.
The day will conclude for these three when they join Allen Bestwick for the "roundtable" version of NASCAR Now at 5:30PM Eastern Time. This one hour show is a thinly disguised version of the old Inside Winston Cup Racing that was a staple on SPEED for over ten years.
Bestwick was the cornerstone of that show, and has brought his influence to bear on ESPN in a big way. He now has three panelists sitting on studio chairs engaging in casual conversation while reviewing video highlights of the weekend. Sound familiar?
This format has been a big hit since it was first unveiled, and continues to grow in status with the wide variety of NASCAR personalities that ESPN welcomes to the show. The combination on Monday is perhaps the most veteran panel ever assembled.
Over on SPEED, the network continues to work very hard on building the new This Week In NASCAR franchise. Monday at 8PM show host Steve Byrnes will welcome Michael Waltrip and Chad Knaus to the program as panelists. Waltrip and Knaus were together on this series earlier, and actually had a good chemistry as things progressed.
This one hour show incorporates lots more video elements than the old Inside NEXTEL Cup, and is much faster-paced. The two elements that continue to trip-up the flow are now well known. There is no third panelist, and the program begins with a preview of the upcoming race rather than a review of the recent event.
The edited video elements from the NASCAR Media Group in this program are sometimes spectacular. Gathered together, they would be great in a stand-alone program or as an online offering. Inserted into the show, they sometimes steal the thunder of the casual conversation of the guests.
Byrnes has been working on his tone in this program, which has to be different from the raucous nature of Trackside. He had a good last show with Knaus and Waltrip, which included the fun and wacky humor of Waltrip once again coming to the surface. The future for this program will be what SPEED and NMG make it.
So, NASCAR fans get the A-team from both SPEED and ESPN on Monday. It should be interesting to see how both these programs pan out, and how the high-profile personalities mesh on-the-air. There will be reviews of both shows on The Daly Planet shortly after they end. Your comments will be welcome.
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