Friday, July 4, 2008
Just How "Wrecked" Is NASCAR On SPEED?
SPEED is about to unveil yet another "lifestyle TV" series. Wrecked is the story of the O'Hare Towing and Recovery Company that operates in the Chicago, IL area. The series will document the company towing cars and trucks.
SPEED is a truly bi-polar TV network. Once NASCAR takes to the track, Formula-1 starts practice and the sports cars roll-off pit road the network is all about racing.
From MotoGP to the entire Craftsman Truck Series, SPEED on the weekends is a race fan's dream. Then, the reality of the week hits hard. It is "lifestyle programming" time again.
NASCAR fans cling to the one hour of This Week In NASCAR as their only regular weekday link to the sport. Originally, SPEED had developed a multi-hour block of NASCAR programming on Monday nights that fans loved.
This week, TWIN is surrounded by a re-run of PINKS, the drag-racing game show Pass Time and 101 Cars You Must Drive hosted by the winner of the Last Comic Standing, Alonzo Bodden.
It is quite possible that the O'Hare Towing bunch in Chicago are some of the nicest people on the planet. This ten episode series is the brainchild of SPEED VP Robert Ecker. Here is an excerpt from SPEED's description of the series:
"This is a world similar in many respects to that of a major urban firehouse," Ecker said. "Until the phone rings and that emergency call comes in, there's simply no way of knowing what any given day will bring and when it does come, lives can literally hang in the balance."
"Whether they are called upon to fix a flat tire, tow an illegally parked vehicle or clean up the remnants of a major wreck, the people who work in this inherently dangerous industry touch the lives of all of us in some way large or small, yet they remain otherwise virtually unnoticed."
This new TV series required a tremendous amount of production and editing. It involved significant financial investment and hundreds of man hours to create.
Meanwhile, SPEED viewers saw one episode of The Humpy Show. It featured Humpy Wheeler sitting down with a current NASCAR driver and a retired NASCAR legend. The show was fantastic. There has never been another episode on SPEED. There are none scheduled.
After winning a national Emmy award, SPEED cancelled Beyond The Wheel that was produced by the NASCAR Media Group. That TV series is now called Quest for the Cup and is produced by NMG for Voom TV where it won another Emmy.
Also cancelled in the NASCAR category were 7 Days, NBS 24/7 and Survival of the Fastest. Fans only need to look a bit farther back to remember NASCAR Nation which began life as Totally NASCAR.
SPEED has no weekly TV series in support of the Craftsman Truck Series. This is the only NASCAR racing series that SPEED shows exclusively. It is the only one they produce. Last Monday on TWIN, the Truck Series highlights were not even shown.
On Sunday nights, Dave Despain hosts a one hour edition of Wind Tunnel. Sometimes, the topic is NASCAR and Despain will take some calls from fans. However, SPEED has no TV series that interacts with NASCAR fans on a regular basis.
Sirius Satellite Radio has a 24 hour NASCAR Channel. The live shows include programs that look at the news, foster debate and give fans an opportunity to speak their mind in a public forum. Hosts range from David Poole to Dave Moody. Thursday, the guests ranged from Richard Childress to Martin Truex Jr. to TV reporter Shannon Spake.
Perhaps, Wrecked will be a big hit for SPEED. Here is what the network says about their new primetime line-up:
Wrecked joins new 2008 SPEED originals Livin' The Low Life with Vida Guerra, Super Cars Exposed, Drag Race High and the daily game show Pass Time, as SPEED continues its most ambitious prime time program development effort in network history.
Apparently, even one weekday NASCAR TV series is not in the cards. Literally, right up the street from SPEED sits the NASCAR Media Group with thousands of hours of NASCAR footage, their own production facilities and a shelf full of Emmy Awards.
Maybe, they need to buy a tow truck.
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