Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Petty Special Off-Balance For ESPN
Expectations were high for the Richard Petty one hour special on Tuesday from the good folks at NASCAR Now. This TV series on ESPN2 had earlier presented a very warm and personal special from DEI on the anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s passing. This show would be much different.
Back then, Nicole Manske was the single host and she showed her skills in conversation and interviewing with a wide variety of personalities. This time, Shannon Spake was going to be on-site at the Petty Museum in Randleman, NC. It houses a wonderful collection of trophies, cars and memorabilia. At the opening of the show, it was made clear that no ESPN personality was on-hand at the new Petty shop in Mooresville, NC. The focus of this show was going to be fifty years of history.
Surprisingly, it was Nicole Manske appearing on-camera at the beginning of the show. After a brief introduction, she introduced Spake who was in the interview location. The interaction between the two was awkward and it was clear from the start that Spake was uncomfortable in this role. As Manske would introduce Spake and her new set of guests, Spake in return would then re-introduce them again every single time as if she could not hear the "toss." Nervous and tentative, Spake would then ask basically the same question over-and-over again with a different subject. It was tough to watch.
Fans tuning-in were looking for a walk down memory lane and what they got instead was a lot of sitting. A whole lot of sitting. The problem was this was not the ESPN studio, it was the Petty museum and NASCAR Now was avoiding the very reason they were on-site. They were surrounded by fifty years of racing history and never even gave the TV viewers a tour. What a shame.
Manske is a TV pro and she zoomed through the news stories of the day, allowing David Newton to pay-off the Truex team penalties and offering a video denial by Max Siegel that DEI is for sale. During the show, Tim Brewer and DJ Copp combined for a fun look at the pit stops of old and that is exactly what the show needed a lot more of...a lot.
Spake talked with Dale Inman, Kyle Petty and the King. Her questions were basic and often seemed uninformed. ESPN2 played back video features that had been used before and one voiced by Allen Bestwick for this program. Unfortunately, neither Spake or Manske got up and walked. Petty is incredibly proud of the cars, trophies and memorabilia in the museum. He never got a chance to show it.
How incredibly strange that the program revolved around folding chairs and two reporters in the same building at different locations. If Manske and Spake had gotten-up, they would have experienced the Petty museum just like the NASCAR fans in these pictures. They might have actually had a good time.
Not a lot more can be said about this show except that it missed the mark. NASCAR Now has been an outstanding studio program this season and Manske's programs on-location from Daytona and DEI worked well. Unfortunately, this special show just did not click. Back to Bristol and the studio on Wednesday for Manske and company.
The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page.