Sunday, April 13, 2008

Schrader vs. Labonte On A Monday TV Match-Up

This is going to be an interesting Monday for NASCAR fans who like to watch TV.

Two of NASCAR's key television partners are going to be presenting one hour feature programs covering the same topics and competing for the same fan base. ESPN2 is up first with NASCAR Now at 5:30PM and SPEED follows at 8PM Eastern Time with the brand new This Week In NASCAR.

Both networks are rolling-out a new wrinkle this week with NASCAR Now welcoming Terry Labonte to the "roundtable" and TWIN bringing back viewer favorite Kenny Schrader. This will be the first appearance for both on these respective shows.

Labonte will be joined by Brad Daugherty and Mike Massaro in the ESPN2 studios for a program that will be hosted by Allen Bestwick. This show is going to be fascinating, because on the menu will be drugs and television. Those are two topics not usually discussed.

Since ESPN's Ryan McGee broke the Aaron Fike "racing while high" story, the howl for a new drug testing policy has become louder and louder. A veteran like Labonte should have an interesting take on the subject. Also, it should be interesting to see if ESPN broaches the subject of the delayed start of the race and the on-air mess that NASCAR on Fox viewers had to endure.

Over on SPEED, Steve Byrnes will be hosting the long-awaited return of Kenny Schrader to the Monday evening 8PM timeslot. Gone is Inside NEXTEL Cup and now TWIN features lots of video and features and much less conversation. Joining Schrader on the panel will be his long-time alter ego Michael Waltrip.

Perhaps, Waltrip's recent pro-NASCAR rants on a wide variety of subjects will play a little differently with Schrader on the set. Normally, the other panelists Greg Biffle and Chad Knaus just wince a bit and wait for the end.

Steve Byrnes has faced an uphill battle with this new program, as nothing is more difficult to change than a popular TV series. Just ask Dave Despain. With an off-week for the Cup series, it will be interesting to see if the show format continues to put the preview of the upcoming race before the discussion of the race from Saturday night. Waiting thirty minutes to talk Phoenix is tough to take.

This post will serve to host your comments in advance of these two programs. There will be a full column up after each show for your post-show opinions. To add a comment, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the directions.

The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page, and thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to having Kenny back. Curious to see if the new format will fit with his style or will it just roll with the flow. He does have a calming effect with Michael at times.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I said it during the off season and I'll say it again; Wendy Venturini SHOULD be the one hosting this show. She is respected and she can get the job done keeping the panelists on track, INCLUDING "Mikie the Mouth".

Mike said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will dump that crazy format tonite, in this case looking "2 WEEKS AHEAD".
Having Kenny back will bring back fond memories of IWC/INC.

Anonymous said...

I like Wendy. She deserves more credit for her knowledge on racing then she gets. Kenny will be a super addition. Steve Burns is on to many shows. ML

Anonymous said...

@mike--IIRC the last time they had a week off they didn't.

@anon 11:29--how is Steve on too many shows? He does TWIN, Trackside, *sometimes* NA$CAR Live! but JR usually hosts unless he's playing Pit Reporter. That's it other than his duties for qualifying/practice over the weekend. Steve can host everything as far as I'm concerned! I like him :)

Spring said...

Did the new lighting setup for NN start today or last week? (I missed last week's show) I'm not liking the darker setup as much; the brighter lighting seemed to fit the show better.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Because of a family illness, Marty Smith did not make last week's show. That left only two panelists with Allen.

It appears that ESPN re-lit the studio for the new locations of the chairs, and things have not been the same since. The lighting change certainly does appear to be more focused on the individuals, and not the set in general.

When the camera is on one panel member, things are fine. When they try to show a group shot or frame multiple panelists, the darker overall effect can be seen very clearly. Look for things to change again by next week.


Patrick said...

I can't stand this backwards format on TWIN. The show is called:

"This Week in Nascar"


"Next Week in Nascar"

or even better(or worse),
"Week After Next in Nascar"


Daly Planet Editor said...

There are new posts up about NASCAR Now on ESPN2 and TWIN on SPEED.


glidedog said...

I am confused. I used to enjoy the monday night speed show. ESPN comes on too early for me to even see it. IF Alan Bestwick wasn't good enough...and DAVE DEPAIN wasn't good enough, then Steve will be the next host to go. Too many changes for me. SOMONE must not mind but I belive there is a moron somwhere making decisions.

Anonymous said...

Hmm... lets see... Do I wanna watch Kenny Schrader or Terry Labonte........ really really tough decision... NOT! Kenny Schrader wins hands down!!