Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shannon Spake Moves To The Night Shift

This is a weird week for NASCAR on the ESPN family of networks. As many college sports fans already know, it is Championship Week. This week is packed with college sports and that has pushed NASCAR Now to the late shift.

The 5PM original airings of this program are gone this week. The program will instead air in the early morning hours on the East Coast Wednesday and Thursday. The Thursday and Friday daytime versions of this daily show are cancelled altogether.

As luck would have it, the off-week is a perfect reason for ESPN to let this show take some time off, despite the fact that many of the other ESPN daily shows continue with few schedule changes.

Shannon Spake will step into the host role for the Tuesday and Wednesday shows. Spake was impressive in a host role on several other programs and perhaps is better in the studio than on pit road. Fans may remember her from SPEED in a variety of roles.

ESPN will once again convene a reporter's roundtable on Monday. Allen Bestwick gets his second week off this season as it will be Nicole Manske hosting the program. Nate Ryan from USA Today, Michael Vega of the Boston Globe and ESPN's own Angelique Chengelis are the media guests.

This concept has worked well in the past and with Tradin' Paint on SPEED cancelled it should give NASCAR fans their only glimpse into some of the media who do not regularly appear on TV in Ryan and Vega. The absence of diverse NASCAR media members somewhere on TV is a hole that needs to be filled for 2010.

NASCAR Now has been having a stellar season with Bestwick, Manske and Mike Massaro co-hosting. Marty Smith and Chengelis have been appearing regularly with the hard news on the weekends. David Newton and Terry Blount still write for ESPN.com, but have a lesser role on the program. Tim Cowlishaw has been quietly eliminated from the series.

Once the season cranks back up with Bristol, we will all probably begin to see the economic reality affect the sport in new ways. Several truck series teams are struggling to return to action after the break and the valiant efforts of several self-funded Sprint Cup teams also appear to be on the verge of ending.

This year, unlike those in recent memory, the challenge for ESPN will be to balance the sports news and information with the reality of the world around us. So far this year, the efforts of the entire production team at NASCAR Now have been nothing short of impressive.

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Thank you for taking the time to read The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

I agree that NN is doing a better job, but not sure I would call it stellar. Nicole is just not as good as the others nor as good as Burr. I know she's probably in for the season, but I hope ESPN thinks about another change. Let's see how Shannon does.

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Brian said...

Ryan Burr is good at everything, it seems. He has sounded extremely knowledgeable about women's basketball all year as the primary studio host.

SO I guess, the biggest element of being a NN host is the preparation.

Anonymous said...
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PammH said...

I like this show alot this year, but I'm not chasing it all around the clock in order to tape it. It's not worth it to me. I can get most info I need from here or jayski

Anonymous said...

As a sport fan, I'd rather see competition on he screen than talking heads. So, I think it's fine to cancel in favor of live games.

JD, you may not watch other shows to know this but ESPN does in fact cancel other shows if they conflict with live games. Mike and Mike are cancelled for tennis in Europe or Australia, and this week with basketball and World Baseball Classic, ESPN has cancelled some Mike and Mike, Jim Rome, Around the Horn, and PTI. Next week is the same. They will have NN but will cancel Jim Rome some days.

It's hard to complain with cancellation of NN, when the network is willing to cancel shows that are probably more popular.

Anonymous said...

Shannon did a great job. She was prepared, did not flub her lines, seemed friendly. I hope she is used more often.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:54PM,

I don't understand your questions, please email me when you have a chance.


Daly Planet Editor said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:51AM,

I watch ESPN every single day and worked there for ten years.

This Thursday Jim Rome is at 4:30PM, Around The Horn is at 5, PTI is at 5:30 and SportsCenter is at 6PM on ESPN.

On ESPNEWS, there is nothing but the thirty minute news wheel and on ESPN Classic there is bowling and taped soccer.

So, the decision to cancel the Thursday and Friday shows instead of move them to Classic or news is just that, a programming decision.

Maybe Kornheiser will mention NASCAR in his Thursday show. That will make it twice for this season.


Anonymous said...

Re: cancellations of shows

Yesterday there was no Jim Rome, PTI or Around the Horn. I think it was Monday when baseball from Japan took up most of the Mike and Mike slot.

Next week: Thursday, no Jim Rome, no PTI, and no Around the Horm. Then on Friday (stil next week), NN is offered 2 times and yet no Jim Rome, PTI, or Around the horn.

My point was really that live shows do and should take preference over scripted "talk" shows.

Anonymous said...

JD - love when you tell us you worked at ESPN 10 year - but there was no ESPN Neor Classic so you hardly know anything about the company programming ground ruls now. Also, the afternoon shows you mention never move to classic or news. Love your opinion but you really must admit ESPN is a totally different business then when you were there in engineering. One other question - Have you ever produced a NASCAR Cup or Nationwide race - ever?

Anonymous said...

One other question - Have you ever produced a NASCAR Cup or Nationwide race - ever?

Straw man alert!

Someone doesn't have to have created the product to be able to determine if it is good or bad.

You don't have to be a chef to decide that a restaurant serves bad food, or be a film director to say that a movie is poorly written, or a published author to know when a book is crap.

In fact, the only people who make such an argument are those who feel threatened by criticism.

Anonymous said...

anon12.15 wrote:

Someone doesn't have to have created the product to be able to determine if it is good or bad.

You are correct when you say that, BUT, the most respected opinions are those who have demonstrated expertise. That's why in judging contests, they always want experts. Sure if you have a stop watch, there is no "judgement" needed, but otherwise, can you imagine a bunch of fans judging Olympic diving, ice skating, X-games, etc?

My local university has all kinds of competitions, from livestock, to music, to art work. ALL ARE JUDGED BY EXPETRS. It's not my opinion is better than yours, or a popularity contest. I went to a Mozart competition and thought ALL the kids were great, any yet music critics all agreed one kid was the best of all.

Lou said...


This maybe one of those times that I get that "This Post has been removed ......"

But I did read those comments overnight that were deleted. Yepper, I did read about the "Shanno" misspelling. I guess we need to get a life. Stuff happens. BUT I KNOW IT WAS A TYPO. And I understand that. I misspell all the time and make english mistakes and type without doing a preview.

It was a good change of pace to see Ms Spake on NN. Still like Ms Manske. They both made the program work when they were on.

Just to bad that NN is pushed to such a late hour. I did watch the Monday and Tuesday late night showings. I just think that it is another way that espn thinks nascar plays second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, yada, yada, yada, fiddle in the wide world of sports.

And nascar exectives in daytona think this is good? But then again, maybe the dollars paid for the tv contract is blinding them.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:47AM,

The Associate Director (my role) sits behind the Producer and Director in the production truck for live events, including races.

The AD keeps track of time for commercials, production elements and talks to network operations in Bristol in one ear while listening on the truck communications line with the other. That was my role during my time at the tracks.

Luckily, I was with Producer Neil Goldberg for many NASCAR and IndyCar races. Neil continues to be the Sr. Producer for the ESPN package today after working for Fox during the time the sport left ESPN.

My Director was Mike Wells, who continues to direct the TNT races in the NASCAR TV package. Mike knows racing and it shows.

This experience was a blast and in the old days before all the bells and whistles it was all racing folks who were into the sport. You had to be, there was little money and the summer heat was something to remember.

The good thing was, when you did the Holly Farms race in N. Wilkesboro you got all the chicken you could eat!

If you would like more information about me professionally, just Google john+daly+insider+racing+news.

No secrets here pal, you got an issue just drop me an email anytime and get a reply right away.

Thanks for your comment,


Lou said...
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Lou said...
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Lou said...

See third try "executives" . just could not get the fingers to type it correct. I type wrong all the time.


Glenn said...

Haven't watched a NN show this year. Haven't chased it around the dial. Didn't even chase the Nationwide races around. ESPN has proven to me that NASCAR is not that important to them. That's fine. I know I can tune to Sirius whenever I want and there will be NASCAR talk and News. I know Speed doesn't do NASCAR Tuesday through Thursday, but they make up for it Friday through Monday.
So far I've been a happy camper this season.

Anonymous said...

I've never watched more than about 1 minute of Around the Horn and almost never see PTI or Jim Rome so I know nothing about the broadcasting of them when live events conflict - but Mike & Mike are almost always carried on ESPNEWS when a live event bumps them off ESPN2 and, of course, they are still on ESPN Radio everyday. I don't understand why NASCAR Now could not be broadcast on ESPN Classic at a reasonable time when its ESPN2 slot is being used for a live event.

Anonymous said...


Many of us only have ESPN and ESPN2. No choice. No available.

Unknown said...

NN round table is one of the reasons and maybe only reason I turn into NN. I get sick of tracking it down, if you miss the 5PM show, cause something else is more important at the scheduled 12AM time. I'd rather catch up with SPEED on Fri-Sun. The only other comment is KEEP Shannon off pit road and out of the drivers faces and in the studio. She's much better there. Her interviews with driver's were just terrible and you had to feel sorry for her and us cringing :-(

Vicky D said...

The Wed night show starting time was delayed by 10 minutes for baseball and my dvr didn't pick up the whole show. Anyway, I think Shannon did a great job I liked her more in this role than on pit road. Both shows were very informative.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Nice job by Shannon on both shows.

Anonymous said...

Just saw her on ESPN for the first time, she's not bad at all.Too bad she's already married!!!