Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Wrecked" Premieres On SPEED Thursday Night

The transformation of SPEED continues as the network rolls-out another high-profile TV series. Thursday night at 10PM ET will be the network premiere of Wrecked.

This follows the series Super Bikes, PINKS, Living the Low Life, Pass Time, PINKS All-Out, 101 Cars You Must Drive, Drag Race High and Supercars Exposed as the most recent additions to this type of non-racing TV programming.

This is the full page on the website that hosts the information about the TV series and the background on the family-owned Chicago area towing business being profiled.

In the same vein as Deadliest Catch on Discovery and The First 48 on A&E, Wrecked is a reality series that explores the non-traditional employment role of a specific group.

As we detailed in this column, Wrecked follows the family workings of the O'Hare Towing Service. This is the official website that will help to orient viewers as to what services the company offers.

It has been several years now since SPEED abandoned the original network format of focusing on "real racing" and moved into what the network refers to as "automotive lifestyle" programs on weeknights.

That began a long list of programming failures as the network struggled to re-define itself between Monday and Thursday when there is no actual on-track action to cover. These included Texas Hardtails, I Wanna Date A Race Car Driver and Shooting Cars.

The multi-hour Monday presentation of NASCAR programming was also dismantled. That left This Week in NASCAR as the only racing-related show. The Tuesday night block of motorcycle content was completely cancelled and the Wednesday evening replay of the previous week's Sprint Cup race was moved to the afternoon. The change was complete.

Although never admitted publicly, the purchase of SpeedVision in 2002 by Rupert Murdoch and his Fox Cable Networks group was with the goal of changing the network into a full-time NASCAR channel. The name was changed to SPEED Channel and the network offices were dispatched to Charlotte, NC where they remain today.

In 2005, Jim Liberatore was dismissed as network president after he apparently objected to the increased amount of NASCAR programming that he was being forced to carry by his superiors. The network subsequently re-branded itself as SPEED and brought-in veteran TV executive Hunter Nickell to right the ship.

He inherited an interesting problem. NASCAR fans wanted more programming from the NASCAR Media Group like 7 Days and NASCAR Confidential. Non-NASCAR fans wanted WRC, Formula-1 and other racing series to take center-stage as they had done with SpeedVision.

Meanwhile, Nickell faced a wasteland of weeknights with declining viewership and a hodge-podge of programming. After throwing many programming concepts at the wall, SPEED finally found PINKS. This TV series made the cross-over from cult hit to mainstream success and has now provided the genesis of a new effort toward more lifestyle program series.

If Wrecked resonates with the fans, TV viewers will no doubt see SPEED continue to fill the weekdays with this type of programming. The shame for NASCAR fans in all of this is that somehow things have come full-circle in this TV equation.

While The NASCAR Media Group produces the weekend shows from the SPEED Stage and TWIN on Mondays, there is no longer any NASCAR in primetime on SPEED during the week. It seems ironic that the very network that moved to Charlotte to embrace NASCAR and is an official NASCAR TV partner will not invest the time and resources to develop one new original weekday program series for the fans.

The last time SPEED did this was for a show called Beyond The Wheel. It won several national Sports Emmy Awards and is still being produced today for another cable network. SPEED cancelled the series to focus the network's resources elsewhere.

SPEED has the perfect right to produce whatever TV programs increase the audience and grow the business. Unfortunately, other than one hour on Monday nights, the lack of weekday NASCAR programming has forced fans away from the network and directly over to ESPN2 and the Internet.

It seems a bit ironic that a TV network that moved to Charlotte and is surrounded by NASCAR shops, personalities and the many NASCAR support businesses has to travel to Chicago to find a new source of reality TV programming.

The premiere of Wrecked will not be reviewed on this NASCAR blog. If you want to comment on that program after it airs please follow this link to the SPEEDtv forum. If you would like to offer your opinion about the topics in this column, please feel free.

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. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.


Bobby said...

Grassroots racing shows "Setup" and "Pinks: All Out" make sense; The Pinks: All Out format lets grassroots racers race in a $10,000 and tool chest drag race. Setup lets aspiring road racers earn a Grand-Am ride.

But some of the shows I cannot stand. Wrecked -- I wonder if O'Hare Towing helped Chicagoland Speedway with services for fans.

I do think they need some more NASCAR documentaries, while they let the FIA European GT, V8 Supercar, DTM, and BTCC series wait until the off-season to air.

But I think they need to let them air the V8 Supercar signature event live -- the Bathurst 1000.

Tracy said...

I watch Deadliest Catch. I won't watch Wrecked. Thank heavens for the Internet so I can find Nascar content.

Newracefan said...

Tracy me too

Diane said...

You're kidding, right? Was there really a show called "I Wanna Date A Race Car Driver "? I shudder at the thought.

I still mourn the loss of WRC.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Summer of 2004 with a format kind of like The Bachelor. Jon Wood and Brandon Whitt were the featured drivers and it ended with a date, not a fake marriage.

Scott Lasky (NFL Prime Ticket) was the host and the series sunk quietly into the depths after just a couple of episodes.

Got to use for the video, but it is not the same.


Vicky D said...

I can't believe anyone will watch this show. I don't have enough spare time to watch reality shows. Sorry.

SallyB said...

Frankly, if it's not Nascar or directly related to racing, Speed is off my radar. Sleazy 'lifestyle' shows have no interest for me at all. Too bad.

Dot said...

The only shows I watch on SPEED are TWIN, 101 Cars, Truck races and other racing series.

If I watch reality shows, they are crime and medical related. You know there isn't much "reality" in reality shows.

SPEED needs to designate one full night to NASCAR fans. Mondays would be good. Do an experiment SPEED.

bevo said...

I would say the name of the show is an apt description of SPEED's weekday programming.

Bill H said...

I probably will not watch Wrecked for 2 reasons:

1) Over promotion during the All Star Race

2) The new Gong show premiers tonight (woot woot!)

But, why is it that this and other lifestyle shows are looked down upon on Speed just because Speed shows Nascar programming? At least the subject matter has something to do with motor vehicles, unlike spelling bees and texas hold 'em poker showing up on the world wide leader in sports (ESPN).

I am as big a Nascar fan as the next person, but I can only watch cars go around in circles for so long before I have to turn the channel.

That last time I watched a show on Speed that was Nascar was the Texas Hard Tails show. The show was corny as heck, but funny.


Ritchie said...

A family that goes around picking up stranded cars seems a stretch for me. I'm sure they provide a tremendous service to the motorists of Chicago, but why would anybody be interested in watching them? How is that any more dangerous than working as a pit crew member on a NASCAR team?

The correlation that I am trying to make is that if you wanted a show about regular folks who do extraordinary work, why would you choose a tow truck driver over the guys that go over the wall at a NASCAR race? Speed has a lot of good stories if they would just look for them.

As for showing the different racing series, I really do miss that. I enjoyed watching the WRC and the Dakar rally. That stuff was so exotic and cool.

Anonymous said...

I miss the days of the old Speedvision. They used to show boats races, aircraft, etc. Almost anything with an engine was on 24/7. There is so much racing going on on this planet it's a complete shame Speed doesn't show any of it. Where's the Cascar races (yeah I know it's the Canadian Tire series)? Why can't we see those live or at least the same week?

I agree with most everyone else. Once Sunday night passes Speed's channel buttons on my remote rarely get dialed in.

GinaV24 said...

Well, this show just gives me another reason not to watch Speed. I loved the WRC racing and other than bikes (cuz I'm just not into it), I'll watch other forms of racing if they show it on Speed. JD, you said that Beyond the Wheel is still being produced only for another channel -- if I e-mail you will you tell me what channel and I'll see if it is in my lineup. I used to watch so much programming on Speed, now, I almost never do.

Anonymous said...

If the tow trucks get wrecked I'll watch. About 6 months ago one of O'Hare Towing's drivers cut me off at 85 mph on the Eisenhower expressway at 5am on the way to work. Must have been a slow day for them to cause their own wrecks -- maybe I was being filmed?

chase said...

It's amazing that a channel called Speedvision which was so well-received by all racing fans has toppled into what Speed's content is now. Speedvision was fun and very interesting to watch - giving us programs that were never available to us before. And why can't Speed show F1, Super V8 racing, and other racing events as well as 'reality' shows that actually show the reality of alot of peoples' lives who are actually working within the sport? I guess that would be too easy! Thanks John

Anonymous said...

I would rather watch a two hour proactiv infomercial or four hours of a thighmaster infomercial while slowly having my intestines pulled out of my mouth. Speed has been nothing but oil sludge since it was sold to Murdoch in 2002

earl06 said...

Like most cable networks, SPEED's viability depends on marketing energy drinks and video games to dumb kids. Capturing intelligent viewers requires too much work and too much money.

If it wasn't for F1, I wouldn't have a clue what channel SPEED is on.

Speedcouch said...

Last night, we were watching the NH Camping World East race that I recorded yesterday while working - yeah it's 2 1/2 weeks after the race and then shown at noon or something when most people are working. And I said "we can't see stuff like this LIVE because of stupid reality shows on SPEED now?" SPEED just gets around to showing it and what a simply horrible broadcast (with blurry pictures, no lap counter, etc.)! Thank goodness HDNet is picking up the rest of the East Series beginning in on 26 July.

I don't watch "reality" TV and will never watch any of these shows on SPEED.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that you can say about the proliferation of this kind of show is it's CHEAP, no actors, no script. Here's an idea for programing how about showing classic racing events whether they be Nascar, F-1, Indy, NHRA whatever RACING so much of Speeds programing is getting farther and farther away from actual racing. If I see another show with the little loudmouth bully from Unique doing his Paul Tuttle Sr. act it will be too soon. Anyone that's ever had the experience of having your car towed by O'Hare Towing won't find this show funny or entertaining been there and done that, most of the time you expect to see a mask when you get robbed.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I miss SpeedVision. I can only imagine how they would've brought NASCAR coverage forward while remaining true to the followers of other branches of motorsports.

Wasn't Jim Liberatore trying to put together a new network similar to the original Speedvision premise? The Racing Network or something similar?

Tracy said...

". . .four hours of a thighmaster infomercial while slowly having my intestines pulled out of my mouth."

ROFLOL. I think that sums it up pretty well. I guess if WRECKED turns into a hit, we'll know it's not the racin' crowd that's tuning it. Maybe that's what Speed wants?

wickedj said...

i love Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers..its a sad sad addiction LOL

but as far as SPEED goes the only show they have i really like is Pass Time, i HATE Pinks its a terrible little show

Anonymous said...

If there was ever any one area of television that has become over-saturated, it's the 'reality' shows. The only ones I watch are Deadliest Catch, Dirtiest Jobs and Everest: Beyond the Limit.

Does Rupert Murdoch still own Speed? And isn't the new available-only-on-digital-cable Fox Business News channel his as well? As many of us know, the man's got a lot of influence as well as money. Perhaps now that he has his business news channel up and running, he'll give some consideration to a 24-hour NASCAR channel. It sure would be nice.

Karen said...

I'm going to give this show a try but on the later rerun. Hopkins is a can't miss miniseries.

I like Ice Road Truckers, too, Ax Men, Tougher in Alaska, Deadliest Catch. Manly men. Don't think Wrecked will be anything like that, but you never know. Maybe the part with the repo men will be good.

You posters are cracking me up.

Anonymous said...

i was skeptical about it but it turned out to be a pretty sweet show

Desmond said...

I did not watch Wrecked, but I have watched and enjoyed Ice Road Truckers. I do watch many other "reality" shows, but all of them are competitions (American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, etc.)

It was interesting to see Speedcouch's comments on the poor quality of the Camping World East telecast from Loudon. Interestingly, it was to have been shown again today from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Pacific time, but it was pre-empted for three episodes of Pinks. Maybe the tape was so ugly that Speed decided not to show it again.

This could be a great opportunity for another media owner to develop a competitor to Speed to carry much of the racing action that Speed has dropped. And perhaps even the "NASCAR Network" could become reality as well. Certainly, it will fall behind all the major team sports in North America when MLB Network launches next New Year's Day.

Anonymous said...

To put it succinctly


It stinks

Anonymous said...

SPEED has been destroyed by FOX - this channel now totally sucks.

There is plenty of racing that could be shown 24/7 from Europe, OZ, etc.

Good god bring back WRC! DTM! Supercars!

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