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.
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