Thursday, May 14, 2009

"NASCAR Wives" TV Series Would Have Been A Hit


There are not a lot of comments out there about why the highly promoted NASCAR Wives TV series never materialized. TLC network declined to respond and the silence from the other parties involved continues.

Click here for a review of what the series was supposed to be and what it was supposed to accomplish.

Big names included DeLana Harvick and Kelley Earnhardt Elledge. TV viewers may remember the Harvicks as appearing regularly on an earlier NASCAR TV reality show offered on SPEED. Their story of total immersion in racing and the intensity of their business efforts is well known.

Elledge was in the show as a divorced mom who was handling her brother's business interests while trying to live her own life in the spotlight. It would have been interesting to see how a struggling brother interacted with his big sister away from racing.

While other cast members would have also shed a brighter light on life away from the track, there is one name that certainly would have been front-and-center. Shana Mayfield was set to document the struggles of Mayfield Motorsports as this upstart bunch tried to push their way into the Sprint Cup Series on a shoestring.

Now, she finds herself in the middle of a media story that will not go away until her husband clears the air once and for all. Wednesday, host Shannon Spake read a statement on NASCAR Now confirming that Shana will step-in as the interim owner and that her husband will be making his own announcement on Friday.

TLC called NASCAR Wives a docusoap. This type of popular TV program mixes slices of real life with edited footage that has been staged. Often, that consists of the cast members speaking directly into the camera and delivering first-person opinion and comment.

Imagine what a door this would have opened to the inner-workings of NASCAR where the Mayfield drug suspension is concerned. Viewers would have been with both Shana and Jeremy as the first driver suspended under the new drug testing policy went through the process.

TDP has pointed-out the lack of long-form NASCAR programming on TV for the last three years. Now, with this high-profile series simply fading away NASCAR again looks like it has something to hide, regardless of the reality.

Millions of primarily female fans watch the docusoap offerings on TLC and other cable networks. Establishing a new fan base outside the group of current NASCAR TV partners may have brought new TV viewers to the sport at a time when the Sprint Cup Series could sure use a boost.

However it happened, it certainly is a shame that the only NASCAR wives fans will be seeing anytime soon will be once again standing on the starting grid during the National Anthem and smiling politely for the camera.

TDP welcomes comments from readers. Just click on the comments button below to add your opinion on this topic. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind while posting.

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

36 comments:

Dot said...

Ya know, I'm glad the show is not going to happen. Look what has happened to other reality shows. The Osbournes, Hulk, Jon & Kate, Housewives of X City, etc.

I truly believe that there is a reality show curse. Maybe this is what happened to NASCAR Wives before we even got to see it.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Seriously? As a NASCAR fan you would not like to have more TV options that just the shows from the track and NASCAR Now?

darbar said...

It all would have depended on how the show was edited. We all know that shows like this tend to edit towards showing the worst of the those in the show and I would not have liked it if TLC had done a hatchet job on the wives. But with all the goings on in the sport now, such as Jr's terrible season and Mayfield's suspension, this could have been interesting.

glenc1 said...

I was thinking about the show a few days ago. Might have been interesting. I don't generally watch much reality TV, but the truth is, there are more hits than misses, and they're cheap to produce...Dot, if some weren't successful, they would not keep trying. Silly as it was, the Osbournes had a very good run. Housewives of various types are still on. American Idol, So You think you can Dance, America's got
talent, Project Runway, Food TV and HGTV challenges, Amazing Race, Little People, Big World, Survivor, Celebrity apprentice, What not to Wear...are all still on.

Sophia said...

not fan of reality shows but DID like NASCAR 360 that was an hourly show some years back. It was on the first year I got into NASCAR and I LOVED getting to see some drivers off the track.

NW might have been good, indeed, depending on how it was edited.

I watched Celebrity apprentice the first couple years until it became an infomercial (season 2 or three?)

I watched Dancing with the Stars until it became sexed up and porn stars and ex cons. And more like Dancing with "what's your name again"?

A show about NASCAR drivers is desperately needed as is one on IRL drivers (but haven't seen those on Versus either)to help promote the PERSONALITIES of the sport.

Especially since NASCAR has become so pasturized, homogenized, and vanilla. I don't want to see cat fights amongst the wives but some drama of behind the scenes in the lives of drivers might be welcome.

I KEEP forgetting to catch SPEEDS All star shows but enjoyed pieced of the ones I caught.

But I also liked that 30 minute show on the Busch series and the other thing, Beyond the Wheel or something.

But in general, McTV shows (aka fake, scripted 'reality' ) shows aren't good for tv. But if it's cheap, why NOT help promote racing in these tough times?

Dot said...

@ JD, yes, I would like to see more NASCAR TV. I have enjoyed the All Star shows on SPEED this week. I think a once in while a NASCAR Women show would be good. Just not sure about a weekly one.

@glenc1, I realize that the contest shows are successful. It's the family/couple ones that have run into trouble. Except Little People, Big World and the Duggars. That's the curse I was referring to.

@ dear Sophia, thank you for filling in the blanks in my head. I couldn't think of NASCAR 360. Also, Behind the Wheel was good, too.

Anonymous said...

Some reporter needs to ask DeLana Harvick directly why this program is not on the air. IIRC she was one of the executive producers, so surely she and/or the other executive producers have been in contact with TLC, which announced the initial schedule for its summer programs a few weeks ago - NASCAR Wives isn't on it.

It could be that TLC saw the footage already filmed and decided the program didn't fit their concept or wasn't what they were expecting (meaning, it may not have been "dramatic" enough) to pass muster. I know that on one of the Real Housewives series on Bravo, the one Housewife of the five who actually had money, a nice husband, and who didn't act outrageously was not asked back for filming of the second season. Yet the four who fought and screamed at the drop of a hat (and are broke) are filming right now.

I will be interested to see if NASCAR Media Group's proposed TV series on young drivers in the Drive for Diversity program, scheduled to air on BET, ever makes it to air. That's the only NASCAR program I have read about in development. While that has potential to be a very good program, it's a pretty sad development slate to have only one possible NASCAR series compared to the many high quality series and specials a NASCAR fan could choose from a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that NW would have translated into more viewer fans to race days. For one, Jeremy was unable to qualify most of the time. Then if he did qualify, was at the end, never part of the competition.

As far as Jr, you talk about a big disappointment. He doesn't win, and most of the races he just blows up. Besides, he does not have a wife, and his sis is not a wife.

I think if they had gotten wives like Carl's, Ryan's, Biffle's, both Jeff's, JJ, then and only then might it have been interesting.

Anonymous said...

From the link JD provided:

Expect few antics or diva moments with the NASCAR show. Abraham wants a show portraying the stock-car spouses in what he describes as “heroic terms,” with an eye on promoting the sport to a new audience.



That's weird. I don't remember the wives and girlfriends on NASCAR 360as heroic. They seemed like regular, sometimes funny or silly people who you could relate to or sympathize with. Or sometimes they were the unintended villainess (Dale Jr's fan-turned-girlfriend who incited jealousy all over the 'net). They didn't do anything crazy, but they weren't heroic. That would be boring to watch every week.

Lesley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

The term "wives" was not meant to disqualify someone who was divorced. The producers were just looking for a cross-section of experiences in the sport.

The curious thing is that the first episode was supposedly finished and just needed some Daytona 500 footage to air.

JD

Anonymous said...

I remember when John Force had his reality show with his family. Now even though John is a marquee champion driver for NHRA, I don't think he generated high ratings for drag racing. So, I cannot imagine that a group of "B" team ladies could do better, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

It sure seems like when the truth came out that Elledge was no longer an actual wife that the show fell apart...

Deborah said...

This female fan has zero interest in NASCAR Wives or any other "docusoap." I have very little interest in the driver's personal lives or that of their significant others. In addition, I have no need to see the Mayfield's personal drama playing out on a reality show - seems to me it's a good thing this show never happened because I don't think it would be beneficial to Shana or Jeremy to have to deal with a bunch of cameras being around right now. I would love more NASCAR programming but I would prefer the focus to be on racing which is the reason I watch this sport.

Tom said...

I am glad when ANY reality show doesn't make the air. Sure, I would love to see something more about racing on during the week, but these reality shows are awful. All of them.....for a "reality" show to be successful, there has to be a train wreck, and if there was one, I don't want to see it, if there isn't, I don't want to see one created. These shows are just plain embarrassing to watch, lets not add to the list of people who will sell their lives for 15 minutes on the TV. Sad....

Tom
Inverness, FL

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
majorshouse said...

I think it would have been interesting to see what they would have had to say. I loved NASCAR 360 and was sad to see it go away.

OSBORNK said...

The only thing the show would accomplish would be to make more material for late night comedians. The New York and California elite have long considered NA$CAR a joke and more material for them would not be benefical to the sport.

Personally, I simply want good racing and shows that concentrate on the racing itself. I don't care for the fluff surrounding the drivers.

glenc1 said...

I actually do want to know about the driver's lives. Not saying I want to know intimate details--I just want to know what kind of people they are, how they spend their time, what their opinions are...that's what those NBS 24/7, NASCAR 360, shows were so good at. At some point I learned this about how you get get to know people--what they say, what they do, and what other people say about them. If that is their significant other, and they want to talk, I have no problem with it. It's no different than Wendy Venturini interviewing Jr with his mom (that is, IF it were done well, we can't judge what we haven't seen). I think they used the 'Wives' term to get attention because it was on other popular shows. Depending on how it was done, it could have been totally interesting or totally boring.

Julie said...

As soon as Mayfield was busted I immediately thought of this show, I didn't realize it had been canned. If they had cameras rolling throughout this thing, I think there would have been a lot of people who would have watched.

Anonymous said...

The reason the show was shelved,Nascar cannot control what the wives would say as opposed to the control they exert over the drivers,teams,and more importantly the media.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:51AM,

The entire point of this blog is for me to offer an opinion on a subject and then for NASCAR fans to agree or disagree.

For the past three seasons, this format has worked quite well. The only exception has been folks who are unable to offer their constructive opinion, so they take a shot at me.

I am happily working in South Florida and have been for the past ten years outside of the sports TV business.

You may have noted there are no ads on this site and no pop-ups. It's just a different NASCAR TV or media topic up for discussion every day.

Thanks again for allowing me to clarify our format.

JD

Anonymous said...

Jeremy and Shana allowed cameras to follow them around after he had been fired by Evernham. They were on a couple of episodes of the show called NASCAR Drivers Nonstop on ESPN2. It was just like NASCAR Drivers 360. It didn't get many viewers because it wasn't promoted very well. Nothing too controversial was on the show, except filming them sitting and watching the first Sprint Cup race Jeremy missed after being fired. Obviously they were both very upset during that segment because they were watching the race on TV - but you felt sorry for them, so it probably worked to their benefit to show it.

If any couple would allow cameras to follow them in this current situation, I think it would be Jeremy and Shana.

As far as the NASCAR Wives show goes, maybe NASCAR should have tried to get it on ABC Family or Lifetime channel if they wanted it to be squeaky clean. TLC shows are getting more drama filled, other than What Not to Wear.

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

I also thought of the show. Even though I hate 'reality' tv, it's a shame to see NASCAR get the short end of the stick.

Would have checked it out, but if it turned out to be just like the others... goodbye. I liked NBS 24/7, but Nw didn't look as entertaining as it.

Sophia said...

real fast off topic

NASCAR SMARTS ALL STAR has Kenny SCHRADER, Kenny Wallace, Kyle and Rutledge on, just caught last half.

Kenny and Kenny from missouri team up...repeated later tonight on SPEED. ck your listings :)

11:30 PM EST on Speed, Thursday

Sorry, JD, didn't know where to put this note.

back to these fake reality shows. Maybe NASCAR 360 wasn't dramatic enough or too expensive to make again but I loved it.

It did not come across as most fake reality shows where there has to be a bad guy/girl making a jerk out of themselves.

I am beginning to think reality shows will always be around which I NEVER would
ve predicted years ago.

Most everybody I know hate such shows and will not give them their energy.

My idea of drama is a driver NOT in the top 35 sweating it out each week to qualify. How it affects them emotionally...

Anonymous said...

NASCAR 360 in my eyes was a “documentary” since it focused on the lives of the drivers & spouses.

A “reality show” is a scripted show with dialog & situations manufactured by the producers.

We really do not need a Hogan Knows Best/Jon & Kate Plus 8/Real Housewives junk on the airwaves about racing.

Sophia said...

Hogan Knows best? YIKES. I forgot that family had a show.

So many folks with these shows are nothing but trash..sorry, just saying. Their REAL LIVES have enough drama without the tv junk to hype it up.

So sad that this stuff is the appetite of most of America. :(

When I saw N360 I also thought it was a behind the scenes, documentary. Not the fake stuff like Apprentice, and all the other shows I read about online, see in headlines, or in tv listings. SHEESH.

Some supposedly well educated folks admit LOVING these shows.

I must say I am more interested in the drivers than wives, sisters, thus N360 was fun as it had wives, drivers, pets, and other family, and racing scenes. :)

Deborah said...

Good point Sonia about the drama surrounding the drivers who are out of the top 35 or just in and trying to stay there. A show about what they deal with each week and the challenges they face would be one I'd watch!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

The rules for posting are simple. No hateful speech or derogatory comments.

Sophia, next time just email me please in reference to a program that I chose not to discuss.

Thanks,

JD

Anonymous said...

I think the key is in the link that Anon 11:38p mentioned. Everything NMG produces is designed with one goal: Bring new fans to the sport. These shows are primarily public-relations advertising.
NASCAR wants iron-fist control over their image and NASCAR Media Group is known to be extremely difficult to work with. Don't complain that NASCAR is getting the short end of the stick if you don't know why the network canceled the program. They may have been justified in doing so. The television world is littered with NASCAR projects that were 'almost sold'. They just usually don't get announced before the deals fall apart.

Anonymous said...

i loved the nbs 24/7 show. after two of the teams merged and the other seemed to fall flat, the show was dropped. too bad it didnt get picked up with some new teams.

Anonymous said...

I bet NASCAR / NASCAR Media Group nixed this series.

Not a good portrayal of NASCAR.

Vicky D said...

I watched the previous reality show but got tired of hearing about the Harvick's 10,000 sq. ft. house they were building and I didn't think Kevin was nice a lot of times to Delana. Shana & Jeremy looked like they had fun with their dogs though. Poor Shana will go it alone for awhile (I mean in front of the camera) I enjoyed her on the show.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

Need some help to catch the qualifying for Trucks and Cup. We are headed to the Indy 500 and want to listen/watch on my laptop as we cruise along. Never tried before so any help would be appreciated.

Karen said...

WCDiane, probably should put your post on the most current column for a response.