Friday, April 24, 2009

NASCAR Reality TV Still In A Lurch


Anyone seen those missing NASCAR wives? Click here for the link to the TDP story back on January 6th talking about the new program series being produced for the TLC cable network. The working title for the series was NASCAR Wives.

Promoted as a behind-the-scenes look into the reality of being part of a racing family, the premise of the series sounded promising. Adding into this docusoap the names Kelley Earnhardt, Delana Harvick, Shana Mayfield, and Angie Skinner just made it that much more appealing. Where reality TV was concerned, this had all the makings of a winner.

The first episode of the program was delayed because producers wanted to wait until after the Daytona weekend to include that footage. TDP was told the rest of the program was done and after editing the Daytona content, the show would air in late March or early April.

Well, it is the last week of April and searching the TLC website for information about the show has been just what many fans have been doing. The results are less than promising. The only mention of NASCAR Wives is an old schedule page that shows the series beginning in late April. There is no video clip, no airdates and no updates on the episodes.

It seems that NASCAR Wives has joined NASCAR Confidential, Beyond the Wheel and 7 Days as more quality TV programming with no place to go. Veteran fans can click off many more shows from the good folks at The NASCAR Media Group that are no longer on the air. What a shame for the sport.

On a brighter note, former DEI executive Max Siegel has turned his attention to NASCAR's diversity program. Siegel is trying to grow diversity in the athletes who participate in the sport and he is going to use TV to help. This time, the network is BET and the title of the series is Changing Lanes.

Click here for a link to the NY Daily News story about the new TV series. Scheduled to air in 2010, BET has already ordered ten episodes of the show that will feature the efforts of two drivers to get a foothold in the sport.

The NY Daily News story also mistakenly states that TLC is already airing the NASCAR Wives series. As fans unfortunately know, there are no full length post-produced NASCAR program series on the air to enjoy. The best fans can hope for is an old race on ESPN Classic or one of the regional sports networks.

Part of the fundamental appeal of the NFL was the quality programming from NFL Films. Whether it was a sincere look at a great game or a hilarious thirty minutes of funny plays, the quality of the editing and the feel of the overall program made an impression that brought new fans to the sport and satisfied the veteran fans as well. It is this element that is missing from the NASCAR TV experience.

It seems ironic that several of the top NFL Films production staff are now working for The NASCAR Media Group. These are talented folks who are just waiting to be allowed to create another solid program series. After looking at some of the offerings on ESPN2 and SPEED, it's not hard to draw the conclusion that there are timeslots available that could be served by this type of NASCAR programming.

Perhaps some new networks will step-up and take advantage of the fact that the NASCAR TV partners are passing on this product category. It might be a great opportunity for new TV networks to get some NASCAR product on their TV screens without the big rights fees paid for the actual races.

Either way, you know it's been a tough year for NASCAR reality programming when the NASCAR Wives can't push their way through The Heli-Loggers and the Cake Boss to get on TLC.

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Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

20 comments:

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

Concerned... well, not all that much. The only show I liked of that sort was 'NBS 24/7' (which I think was produced by a different group). That show had it's moments.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just do a reality show on a driver? I for one would LOVE to see what their week is like - from all the pre-race obligations to the post-race travel to the mid-week prep, etc. etc. It would be such a great way for a driver below the Top 25 to gain a reputation and a fan base. It doesn't have to be Jeff Gordon - I would be riveted to the screen even if they would follow David Gilliland - and I am not a fan of his at all(!)

haus20 said...

Anon, they used to have a reality show along the lines of what you are talking about. It was called 7 days. There were more than just drivers profiled, but it was a behind the scenes type show that aired on Speed along with NBS 24/7 that hotaru was referring to. Those shows were on just a few years ago. I really enjoyed them as I was just getting into the sport at that time.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Just to think that there is no weekly or even monthly show out there in support of the Nationwide or Camping World Truck series is hard to take.

JD

Anonymous said...

how much$$$$$$ was nascar charging for the wives shows?

Deborah said...

Like anon, I would like to see a reality show that follows a driver or several drivers and focuses on racing. The fact that NASCAR Wives is described as a "docusoap" makes me glad that it hasn't seen the light of day so far.

Anonymous said...

who cares JD - perhaps network executives have a good reason not to purchase these programs - if they made money, i'm sure we would still see them...

Anonymous said...

Got to believe that NASCAR is just not popular right now...I can think of at least 25+ reality shows on TV right now, if a channel could make money on a NASCAR one gotta think they would!!??? Not like there are not plenty of outlets with SPEED, TLC, Bravo, Discovory etc etc etc

glenc1 said...

I just can't fathom who is watching the endless episodes of that annoying couple & their 8 kids...ughhhhhhhhhhh...but it's certainly not the job of TLC to promote racing.

I miss NBS 24/& and 7 Days--but don't forget, you have to get drivers to agree to be followed around like that.

But if they could do something more along the lines of NFL films, I think that could be interesting. Greatest 'crunches' in the truck series, watching snowball fights with the NNS crews in Bristol--that sort of thing. I know the wreck thing sort of appeals to a certain crowd, but it could still spark interest in the series, which you would *think* would be in SPEED's best financial interest...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Isn't it amazing that with all the reality-based shows on the cable networks, NASCAR gets left out in the cold?

JD

glenc1 said...

Terrell Owens is going to have his own reality show...yeah, I'm really looking forward to making his enormous ego even bigger... apparently his 'assistants' are going to fix him up with women or some nonsense. Riveting.

darbar said...

glen, I believe the "reality" show for TO is a revised version of the old Superstars competition. So it's not actually his own show. They gathered a group of athletes and C list celebrities who will compete in staged athletic events.

As for Nascar wives, seeing that the whole Real Housewives series is such a hit, I'm guessing TLC wanted something similar. But to be honest, if the Nascar wives were to be portrayed in the same manner that these overindulged, egomanical, back-stabbing witches are, Nascar would be in a world of hurt, and couldn't handle the negative publicity. But, like they say, any publicity is supposed to be good publicity.

But can you imagine---Ingrid saying nasty things about Delana, or Amanda Sadler getting into a cat fight with Kelley Earnhardt? Now that's must see TV !!!

Anonymous said...

JD
Maybe NASCAR is out in the Reality Genre "cold" because they want so much control, that theres no reality to watch

GinaV24 said...

I loved Beyond the Wheel when it first came out and even watched some of the NBS 24/7. I miss Beyond the Wheel very much, but honestly a show called NASCAR Wives? It would rank right up there on my viewing list with Wrecked -- and that's Never. I'd love to see good NASCAR programming - edited film as you said, but so far, the pickings are slim.

Richard in N.C. said...

I would love to see a NASCAR Where Are They Now show about the retired greats of NASCAR like Jr. Johnson, David Pearson, Harry Gant, or the not retired Morgan Shepherd. Just scanned part of what appears to be a very good article on Handsome Harry by David Newton. Unfortunately, older folks get little respect from the all-wise media, which seems odd as the over-50 group keeps growing.

Could the lack of NASCAR related programming indicate that NASCAR is taking a too short-range view and focusing on current profit for the NASCAR media group rather than long-range promotion of the sport??

Newracefan said...

I wonder if someone looked at the final version and said I don't think so. Perhaps they were trying to make it like the other "Wives" reality shows and that wouldn't fly. I for one would like to see that show or any other Nascar type show like 24/7, Beyond the wheel, Nascar Confidential etc as long as it does not become like those "real housewives" shows. I wonder if we've lost those great shows so we could keep all the practice and qualifying coverage

Sasha Trosch said...

Kind of off-topic, but the photo you're using for this post was taken by the staff photographer at UNC Charlotte, the very talented Wade Bruton. I'd love for him to get a proper shout-out!

FYI, Kelley is an alumna of the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte and a member of the advisory board for the university's motorsports engineering program. The picture was taken for a profile in our college magazine.

Thanks!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Sasha,

Thanks for the update. It was sent to me as a PR shot for JR Motorsports.

JD

Sasha said...

JD - thanks - I knew JRM had followed up with us after the shoot but didn't realize they were still using it. That's a real compliment for Wade. It was a nice surprise to see the pic! Keep up the great work on the blog - it's a fun read. ST

Ann_Ominous said...

Thanks for the update, JD. I was wondering what had happened.

Maybe the show got canned because the wives were too nice. One can hope!