Sunday, June 1, 2008

"RaceDay" Changes Its Tune For TNT


"Enjoy it while you can" was the advice given to me as The Daly Planet followed-up on the big change coming for one of NASCAR's most popular TV shows.

Next week, as TNT comes on-the-air with their coverage of the sport, the network will once again present a ninety minute pre-race show divided into two separate programs. Marc Fein and Bill Weber will host.

Last season, SPEED's popular RaceDay program went head-to-head with TNT as both programs originated live from the track. This season, things will be different.

RaceDay will back-up and end its two hour live telecast when TNT begins the pre-race programming. So, RaceDay will be first and then ninety minutes of TNT will lead-into the live race. That means for the next six races there will be three and a half hours of live pre-race programming.

Just so everyone is on the same page, SPEED is owned by the Fox Cable Network Group and TNT is owned by Turner Broadcasting under the Time Warner corporate umbrella.

This week at Dover, RaceDay starts at 11:30AM and ends at 1:30PM when Chris Myers and the NASCAR on Fox gang take to the air in the Hollywood Hotel. Earlier this season, we actually saw RaceDay overlap with the Fox pre-race show even though both networks are ultimately owned by Fox.

This Sunday, John Roberts will host Elliott Sadler, Brian Vickers and Martin Truex Jr. as guests on the show. Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace will be alongside of Roberts as usual. They will review Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s season-to-date, recap Jody Ridley's amazing Dover win back in 1981 and Rutledge Wood is back to be, believe it or not, a stunt double.

Wendy Venturini will interview Mark McArdle, who is in charge of the Competition side of Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Where RaceDay is concerned, it may be Venturini who feels the effect of the schedule change when it takes place in another week.

Late in the RaceDay programs, Venturini has become known for her ability to seamlessly mix-in with the Cup teams and drivers as they assemble for driver introductions. She has also done a live "pit walk" from the starting grid as the show winds-down and the teams are in final preparations for the race.

All of these elements might disappear when RaceDay is moved ninety minutes earlier on the clock. The drivers will be doing very different things and the scene in the garage area and on pit road will also be very different.

One interesting aspect of this move is the absence of a June programming schedule on the SPEED website. The months jump from May to July, seemingly omitting the time period when TNT is on the air with regular weekly races before the big Daytona July race. Update: Since the original column, June is now on the website schedule page.

Last season, SPEED aggressively moved RaceDay right into the path of both TNT and ESPN/ABC as the Sprint Cup season left the cozy confines of the Fox Network. Now, it seems that for the next six weeks it will be TNT enjoying the exclusive ability to be live on-the-air as driver introductions and the final prep is underway for the races.

The Daly Planet will continue to follow this story and report on how and why these changes came about between two very different TV networks.

We welcome comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

26 comments:

SophiaZ123 said...

Gotta be honest...race day is too long for me and with weather nice and time to water and do little chores outside before the race, it seems insane to have RACE DAY on EARLIER (especially for folks on the West coast!) and leave 90 minutes dead air time ala TNT.

I shall just be watching less Race Day...I 'listen' more than watch anyway and now wish it would go back to a one hour show. But to back off THIS year for TNT does not make sense but whatever.

I liked the option of watching the last few minutes before the race...but honestly, preferred this show in 60 minutes with less fluff.

AMS fan said...

JD, I also noticed no June programming on Speed"s schedule page. I figured it was just another mistake on that website. I sent an e-mail explaining my problems with their FANCY, GRAPHIC OVERLOADED, with no quality control web site. Do we know how TNT got that worked out, so no programming overlaps?
Looks like TNT won't be asleep at the wheel this year.
Sounds good though.

darbar said...

They can back RaceDay up to last year, I still won't watch the TNT pre-race show. TNT has done such a lousy job in the past, I'm not going to waste my time with them. It's going to be tough enough enduring the TNT race coverage for the next few weeks.

Matt said...

Raceday plus 90 minutes of TNT prerace coverage is just too much for me. Obviously we're not forced to watch all of these shows, but still, it's just too much.. especially if the same topics are discussed in both TNT programs like we saw last year.

haus20 said...

On one hand it is nice to see the broadcast partners "playing" nice, but on the other hand I think that the competion between the two shows would put pressure on TNT to produce a better product.

Even though RaceDay has its quirks and it is however many hours long now, it is still the best pre-race show and it is certainly head and shoulders above anything TNT can offer.

I didn't watch the TNT pre-race show last year and I won't this year either...I will enjoy Sunday dinner with my wife and kids during that time.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, is it time for TNT already? I can't stand them at all!! Bill Weber is awful and boring as hell! I watch RaceDay every single weekend and the only reason why I'll watch TNT is for Elliott Sadler. As for the schedule on Speeds website, I use that every weekend so I can tape the shows while I'm at work. I can't always depend on getting it from Nascar Scene's paper. I say if it's not broke, don't fix it! Keep the shows AS IS!! It's too bad Speed/Fox can't do the whole races from Feb to Nov!!! Nascar execs, listen to the fans, get rid of TNT!!!!!

Kyle said...

Wow what bummer.....
JD, Do you think in reality NASCAR came down on SPEED,or do you think TNT made a stink and made NASCAR lower the boom?


Last year the few TNT pre race shows I watched were about on the level with a high school audio video club doing the school news once a week.

Guess I'll catch race day, then kill another 90 minutes before turning on the TV to watch the race this year. Thankfully its only 7 races. Too bad one of them is a road course.

BTW is this your first blog comment from the middle east? I'm in UmmSaid in Qatar for a week.
Your web site is blocked on the national firewall(I think all of blogger.com) Thank goodness for gotomypc.com, this place is almost as bad as China.

Daly Planet Editor said...

kyle,

Qatar....that's up north near Orlando, right?

No clue on how this happened yet, but I will get it straightened out for a Monday night/Tuesday column.

Something smells a little fishy in this deal.

JD

SonicAD said...

Guys, the June schedule is on the SPEED site, but they screwed up the URL, so you have to change it manually to access it properly. Every week except the first week of June works, actually, via the "week of" link on the side, but here's the proper link for the first week for anyone else who needs the schedule:

http://www.speedtv.com/schedule/filter/date/2008-06-1/2008-06-7/

SonicAD said...

Hmm... that link doesn't show up properly, but it's there. Just make sure to copy beyond the end of the line as it appears, because it goes on further.

Brian said...

I never really paid attention before but Speed programing in now available to watch on NASCAR.com (trading paint etc...) I am not sure if it was there before or not. If not wonder if that had anything to do with the RaceDay timing?

Statboy said...

It seems to me that 3 and a half hours of pre-race is just a little much. Why TNT thinks they need 90 minutes is also beyond me.

Remember the days when ESPN and TNN came on the air at 12:00 and the race started by 12:15?

Gymmie said...

Well, I'll be watching the DVR'd NRD and then check out TNT at my leisure. Like last year, I checked the groups/forums to see if there was anything that I should especially watch on TNT. But just FF'd and stop if something looked interesting.

Anonymous said...

Statboy said...
It seems to me that 3 and a half hours of pre-race is just a little much. Why TNT thinks they need 90 minutes is also beyond me.

Remember the days when ESPN and TNN came on the air at 12:00 and the race started by 12:15?

June 1, 2008 6:34 AM

Those networks paid a drop in the bucket compared to what the networks pay today. TNT needs those 90 min to promote their network and shows, it is why these networks bid for the rights..to build the Network.

Bill H said...

Maybe TNT is gonna sub-lease the raceday show for their broadcast?

BillWebz

Daly Planet Editor said...

bill,

It will be the full TNT crew from the giant, spinning infield Lazy Susan stage. Remember last season when Marty Snider was using a remote control to spin Bill Weber around in the rain at Pocono?

If I get any more info I will pass it along on the TNT/RaceDay issue.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:02PM,

I know where you are coming from, but perhaps you could phrase that a little bit differently.

JD

Anonymous said...

Must be from his comedy background...easy to joke about, but really out-dated humour

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anybody notice the SPEED videos that are now being listed on the NASCAR.com website?

Tradin' Paint is on the main page.

Hmmm...

JD

PammH said...

I'm sorry, but that bit w/Rut & ES made me LOL!! It was sooo dumb it was funny, jmo. Maybe because I remember cheesy 70's detective shows!

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
Anybody notice the SPEED videos that are now being listed on the NASCAR.com website?
Tradin' Paint is on the main page.
Hmmm...
JD
June 1, 2008 12:07 PM

Quid pro quo.....

expect the same on ESPN.com come July if RaceDay moves then also???

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:19PM,

I believe that would cause the earth to stop spinning for a little while.

JD

Anonymous said...

I must be in the minority on here because I actually like Bill Weber. He's usually straight-forward and intelligent in his reporting.

I'll DVR both pre-race shows and if I'm in the house, I'll listen/watch them otherwise I'll just FF through them at my leisure later on in the week and either watch bits that interest me or erase the entire thing.

I am going to be optimistic and hopeful that TNT does a better job than last year, though. We'll see...

SophiaZ123 said...

I am still hoping for the good almost commercial free-side by side thingie for Daytona again.

My newly RE discovered Caj/Dixieland band is on vacation for 6 weeks and I will not be taping any races that month... and i LOVED the TNT 400 coverage last year. I taped two races this year that I never ever watched (Phoenix and the All Star race...that never happened with the older cars)

Won't comment on the other races except wish they all had the same side by side at the bottom of the screen commercials. That was terrific!!

I was shocked some HATED that coverage but it looked good on every tv in this house (course we have standard, older tvs...some three years old, some 10) but all have great pictures.

:-)

motorsportsuniverse.com said...

I agree with sophiaz about it being insane having race day on earlier. especially living on the west coast... TNT? ugh...