Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sports Emmy Nominees Include NASCAR Networks

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is proud of the awards that it gives each year.

"The Sports Emmy Awards recognize outstanding achievement in sports television coverage," says the Academy. "For over a quarter century, the National Television Academy has presented the Emmy as a reward for excellence in Sports broadcasting and as an incentive for its continued pursuit." This bring us to the newly-released nominees for the 2008 Sports Emmy Awards.

NASCAR is represented among the normal candidates including the NFL and the US Open. What may be interesting for NASCAR fans is what programs and events are on the list.

Nominated for Outstanding Live Sports Special is the 2007 Daytona 500 on Fox. The network tries to start the season on a high note by bringing the top announcers and the best equipment to Daytona in support of this one event. The competition includes the Super Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl and the AFC Championship game.

The NASCAR on Fox portion of the NEXTEL Cup Series from last season is also nominated as the Outstanding Live Sports Series. The competition includes Monday Night Football and the NBC Golf Tour.

Where Outstanding Sports Documentary is concerned, the folks at the NASCAR Media Group get the first of their three nominations. Although the company was called NASCAR Images last year, many fans will fondly remember the fantastic feature presentation that was offered as both a movie and on TV. It was simply called Dale.

This outstanding work will be going up against the Ray Mancini Story and a documentary about Barbaro. Regardless of the competition, this may be a nice moment for NASCAR in general when this team wins the Emmy. Dale is the class of the field.

When we come to the Outstanding Studio Show - Daily there might be a small "moment" for many NASCAR fans. ESPN has gotten the regrettable and forgettable 2007 season of the one-and-only NASCAR Now nominated for a national Sports Emmy Award.

With all due respect to Erik Kuselias and Doug Banks, ESPN also has Pardon The Interruption and SportsCenter nominated in the same category. Even though Tony Kornheiser hates anything NASCAR, and SportsCenter ignored NASCAR as a sport on a regular basis in 2007, I do believe PTI or SportsCenter will pick-up the hardware.

In the Outstanding Sports Personality - Play-by-Play category, I find it amazing that Mike Joy's name is not on the list. Among the candidates are veterans like Jim Nantz, Joe Buck and even Marv Albert. What is surprising is the name of Jim Lampley, a personality much better known for his feature reporting and journalism roles. Mike Joy handled the entire NASCAR on Fox package, and called multi-hour live events without a halftime or an intermission between periods. This category has a big hole in it.

In terms of the Outstanding Technical Teams nominations, both NASCAR on Fox and ESPN got the nod in the "Remote" category. This is essentially event production in the field. The Studio nominations in this category also included the Fox gang. If I recall correctly, 2007 was the first year of the "new look" Hollywood Hotel.

The Outstanding Music Composition category is for original music created for a project. The NASCAR Media Group got their second nomination for the music in the movie Dale. They have a good chance of making it a double-header.

We often talked last season about the outstanding audio from the NASCAR races broadcast on Fox. These efforts were rewarded with a nomination for the NASCAR on Fox gang in the Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound category.

It was the first season of NASCAR on ESPN, and often times newly designed elements catch the eye of the Academy. In the Outstanding Graphic Design category, the NASCAR on ESPN package got a nomination. There was a lot of work put into this "graphics package" and despite some drawbacks in the way it was used, it has survived the test of time and is being used again this season in almost the same form.

There is a Technical Achievement Award each year named after a wonderful man named George Wensel who is no longer with us. George was best-known for his time at NEP Broadcasting, and his tremendous contributions to the technology of putting sports events on-the-air. Tragically, he lost his life trying to help his two young sons who were caught in a riptide while on vacation in North Carolina's Outer Banks. He was only 37 years old.

The Award is intended to celebrate the innovation and creativity that new TV technology can bring to sports television. This year Aim Point is nominated from the Golf Channel's coverage, as is the innovative Swing Vision from the CBS Golf package.

Also nominated as a technical innovation is the always controversial Draft Track used on the NASCAR on ESPN package. I understand SportVision's intent behind the product, and it does serve to help those new to NASCAR understand drafting.

It took on a life of its own in 2007 when Rusty Wallace tried to convince skeptical fans that Draft Track was really "seeing" the air effects of the cars in colored swooshes. Rusty upped the ante when "Draft Lock" appeared as a new term in the NASCAR vocabulary. That will not soon be forgotten.

Finally, the outstanding NASCAR Media Group team that used to produce Behind The Wheel is now hard at work producing a show that I have never seen. Quest for the Cup airs on the VOOM-HD networks, and is nominated for Outstanding Live Event Turnaround.

Apparently, NMG is producing a nationally-recognized program for a channel seen on Dish TV. If anyone has seen this show, please add your observations to the comments.

The fact that this series is not on SPEED is a crime. If it wins another Emmy, perhaps SPEED might wake-up to the fact that there are viable NASCAR program series that are high-quality and award-winning just waiting for a bigger audience.

So, now that you have taken the time to read this list, please give us your comments about the Sports Emmy nominations and how you feel about the programs and personalities listed above. To add your opinion, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the instructions.

Thanks again for taking the time to stop by the Daly Planet and help us talk NASCAR TV.