Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Now Confirmed By TNT: Weber Out For Last Two Races (Updated)


Bill Weber is gone from the NASCAR on TNT coverage for the final two Sprint Cup Series events on the network. TNT confirmed this with The Daly Planet on Wednesday morning.

Weber was scheduled to call the Wide-Open coverage for the network from Daytona on Saturday night. The summer race in Daytona is TNT's showcase event for the network's six race TV package.

Ralph Sheheen will handle the play-by-play duties for Daytona and Chicago with Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach alongside. TV ratings for the Sprint Cup Series race from Loudon, NH were up slightly and that may have played a role in this decision.

Weber was involved in a late night incident last Friday night at the TNT hotel in Manchester, NH. It spilled-over into Weber being sent home by TNT executives on Saturday and now his release from the TV package.

TNT has been tight-lipped about the issue and gave no indication whether or not Weber would continue with the network in 2010. Here is the official TNT release:

Bill Weber will not be part of TNT's NASCAR coverage of the Cup Series for the network’s last two races. Ralph Sheheen will handle play-by-play duties for The Coke Zero 400 in Daytona and the LifeLock.com 400 from Chicagoland. Sheheen will be calling the races alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach in the booth.

Several reporters suggested that this was coming, but TDP waited until the official information came from the TV network that held Weber's contract.

Click here for a great story from SPEEDtv's Jade Gurss about Sheheen and his Loudon experience.

2PM Update: Adam Alexander has been added as a pit reporter for TNT's coverage of Daytona. He will replace Ralph Sheheen who will handle the play-by-play duties.

TDP welcomes your comments on this issue. Just click on the comments button below to add your opinion. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

It would be unseemly for all of us here to celebrate too much...but here's my opinion:
YAHOO!

Dot said...

@ Anon 10:52, ditto.

Pamsey said...

I for one am ok with this decision and actually thought the whole broadcast (last week) was better without Mr. Weber.

Anonymous said...

agree - Shaheen is much better.

Anonymous said...

Whatever his personal situation, that is too bad...but I will definitely NOT miss him! Of all the NASCAR announcers/broadcasters, he was the only one I absolutely could not stand. I think Ralph Shaheen (sp?) did a much, much better job last week for NH.

Anonymous said...

I think its kinda sad to say the least. I mean people are celebrating at someone who lost there job. Will we ever see Bill Weber again? Hes been with TNT/NBC since 2001 and they just boot him off the air like that. I hope something more is released or we see him back next year as a pit reporter or something.

David said...

Weber is a valuable asset (when used appropriately) and he actually had improved with this TNT 6 race package over his TNT/NBC days but this didn't shock me when they sent him home the writing was on the wall.

I think this is the end of his tenure with TNT, perhaps a return to ESPN may be coming if he even finds another job.

Toss him in to handle pre-race duties and pit reporter roles, allow AB to call the action...it almost makes SENSE. JP on pit road would be great but perhaps those days are behind him =(

Shaheen did a great job at Loudon and now this is his first full week preparing as a lead play-by-play guy...can't be more excited for the guy.

Question now will be if he does any pit reporting when SPEED has coverage before the race for practice and qualifying?

Anonymous said...

Hey, he doesn't have to lose his job with TNT. He can be the coffee boy and donut runner! Just having him off the air is celebration enough for me!

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

David,

I thought when ESPN got rid of Erik Kuselias and Doug Banks from NASCAR Now that they would consider Weber.

His strengths are as a writer and reporter. I see his situation as being similar to Jerry Punch. Just someone in the wrong role.

As for the actions that led to his dismissal, that is an issue he must deal with personally.

JD

majorshouse said...

I am glad Weber is gone from the ply by play booth and am excited that Sheheen is the lead ply by play announcer and if the race from Lowden was any indicater, the race from Daytona and Chicago are going to be fun and a darn shame that this did not happen earlier and I still claim that TNT should have the entire NASCAR package with the drastic improvements that they have made in the past two seasons, it is actaully fun to watch.

The Angry Engraver said...

I guess I'll be watching Daytona. Ralph Shaheen will be a welcome voice.

Plus he's from my hometown anyway.

Anonymous said...
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Cindyb said...

Bill Weber...I remember him back in the day being the writer who would open a telecast with wonderfully witty and thought provoking commentary.

I always thought, gee, wish I could write like that....but perhaps in person, he's just not as warm and fuzzy. Don't pretend to know how he is, don't know him...but over the years, we all change and we all have problems.

Its unfortunate that whatever befell him, took over in the moment and he paid for it with his position.

I agree with JD, his stengths appear to be in writing and reporting. Hopefully he can stay in that area....

Cindyb said...

make that last comment..."strengths" not stenghts! :-)

TexasRaceLady said...

I'm torn between sympathy for someone who has lost a job, and elation that we will have a great PxP in the booth.

Ralph, Wally, and Kyle will have my full attention on Saturday night.

Julia said...

As mean as this sounds. Good!! I'm glad he is gone! I enjoyed the broadcast so much more without Mr Know-it-all. I wonder if Weber's on camera Pompus Arrogant "I'm the best ever" attitude carried over to off camera, and caused the problem. I would not be suprised to hear it. I'm glad TNT listened to fans when we told them how much better Ralph Sheheen was, then Mr Pompus. Thanks TNT!

Anonymous said...

Sheheen in, and ratings go up. Pretty much says it all.

bevo said...

I thought Bill Weber had improved this year and was doing a fine job. I wish him nothing but the best of luck in the future. With the current economic situation and knowing so many people who have lost their jobs and the ripple effect it has I feel nothing but compassion for anyone who finds themselves unemployed.

Smiff_99 said...

Ralph Sheheen- Always loved his work with TNN and TBS back in the day and his work on Speed, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear his familiar voice in the booth on Sunday. He Doesn't come off as a pompous ass, just a fan who happens to be a journalist as well.

To put Weber back in the booth next year would be a cruel injustice to the Nascar on TNT viewers.

TNT's broadcasts have been the best this year, period, but they will be even better now with Sheheen closing out the 'summer series'.

I absolutely can't wait for Saturday night. The racing will be nuts and the booth will be off-the-charts pleasant to listen to.

Steve L. said...

Sorry guys, but I didn't think Ralph did such a great job last week with his announcing in the booth. The whole race seemed disjointed and out of rhythm. It never got rolling for me.
Maybe with preparation this week to get ready for the role things will be better. I just don't think he has the voice for PXP. It's too calm or low-keyed for me. I'd still rather have him in the booth than a hundred JP's!
If they would just turn up the track sounds so the announcers would have to talk a little louder, it would seem like they're excited about calling the race. When you can hear the gurgling sound in Kyle's throat, because he won't keep it cleared, it's too quiet in the booth! (Kyle - cough button, please!)
Two weeks and then ESPN - Good Grief! Please remove JP as PXP as well!

Bill H said...

I'll be the lone voice in the wilderness and say I would prefer Weber over the ESPN or Fox offerings, and maybe over Shehan, we have only heard him do it once on TNT, and remember everyone was esctatic with JP and Meyers when they 1st started too. Yes he did get on my nerves, but he was known quantity I could handle it. I recall everyone falling over themselves when TNT started up this summer on how great Weber was over the Fox guys..


Bill H

Photojosh said...

Weber didn't bother me that much. though I know he drove others nuts. Perhaps I was just too distracted by Wally and Kyle, who I very much like listening to.

In any case, Shaheen did a great job last week and I'll have no problem listening to him for the rest of the season and next year as well (with any luck). I really like seeing some of the hard working guys getting to step up from pit or lower-tier racing to the "big leagues".

Anonymous said...

I'll miss his barking, "Matt!" when he throws to the pits.

Anonymous said...

For those that feel sorry for him. Don't. I have never heard anyone say anything good about him as far as off camera stuff. And yes how he comes off on camera as mentioned is how he is off. This was most likely just the straw that broke the camels back.

RonFWNC said...

Two thoughts:

1) This should go into the books as how NOT to handle a situation like this; and

2) I'm really tired of talking about this. Can we focus on racing again, please?

Bruce Simmons said...

Regardless of what happened with Weber, of which I've not heard any real details of, I have to say that it so amazes me that folks in very public positions who interact with fans or what not at times, forget that their career is image based and step out of line and take actions that threaten their own livelihood.

Hope it works out for him, and welcome to the fray Ralph!

Nathan Brice said...

Bill COULD be used in a different role next year, but I don't know what his legal situation holds. ESPN might consider bringing him back to host NASCAR Now. They probably would not want him a play-by-play guy.

Daly Planet Editor said...

2PM Update: Adam Alexander has been added as the fourth pit reporter for the TNT Daytona coverage. He replaced Ralph Sheheen who will handle the play-by-play duties.

JD

Charlie said...

I just want to wish Mr. Weber the best and hope that for whatever the personal reason it is for him to miss the last 3 races works out to a good conclusion.

Ralph Sheheen should feel a bit more comfortable in the booth for this race. He has been given a week to prepare instead of just a few hours like he had last week.

David said...

Good to see my fellow circus freaks stop by here sometimes.

Trophy, phat...hola.

JD thanks, Thats what I felt about Weber from the start. He is great with leading a report and digging for info and does some A+ pre-produced pieces but as a lead guy he always seemed like a control freak and never got 100% comfortable.

So Saheen will not be in the garage for SPEED on Thursday and Friday doing pit reports I take it from the Alexander news. Wish they would have given Wendy a shot.

Daly Planet Editor said...

David,

Ralph will be doing his normal pit road duties on Thursday and Friday for SPEED.

The SPEED and TNT deals are different. The only thing that has changed is his duty on the race coverage.

You can see the complete weekend rundown, including announcers and guests on the right side of the TDP main page.

JD

David said...

Okay. I just wondered because someone the TNT crew is in the booth covering a practice or qualifying so wondered how that would shake down and where they would put Ralph.

Not only here but at Chicago too.

Gymmie said...

w00t! Go Ralphie Go!

I do hope whatever the situation is that caused this that Bill will work on it and that he will learn from it. But I would not be sad if he did not return next year in the booth.

Glad to hear that AA will be getting a chance to play with the Cup boyz :). I really like him and am always happy when he gets to expand his role a bit.

I agree that it would be nice to see Wendy (who is on Twitter now BTW) have a shot too :).

I think some of the "uncomfortableness" last week was due to everyone having their spot. Ralph allowing Kyle or Wally an opening that they didn't take. But hopefully they had a chance to chat and get that flow going :). But I think they did great and there were definitely no DJP *crickets* going on.

Rob said...

For what it's worth, his profile and picture are still up on TNT'S website. It may just be a forced leave of absence. We'll see.

Matt said...

This seems to be standard for TNT, they did suspend Charles Barkley earlier this year after his drunk driving arrest, and he did return after I think 30 days. However, he is still employed by TNT, so let's hope they are fair and let Bill Weber keep his job. And I'm not talking about this based on who is a better PXP guy (it is Shaheen, hands down), but based on being fair in punishment. To my knowledge, there has been no arrests or charges filed, so I do see this as a bit of an overreaction.

Vince said...

Add me to the list that thought Bill did a good job. And I think he's improved over the years.

Ralph is ok. I'm not sure he really has the personality for a PxP guy, but I'll give him a chance. I know it's not an easy job. Wasn't he a part of the old ASA broadcasts on TNN? Seems that's the first I remember seeing him on TV.

I'm surprised in this day and age of cell phones with cameras and video capability, that nobody got a pic or a clip of Bill's altercation at the hotel.

Lesley said...
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crockett said...

What's Wendy's Twitter name? I searched for Wendy Venturini and didn't find her.

kbaskins said...

crockett;

Just do a google search for "Wendy Venturini twitter" and and her Twitter page will be your first hit.

I never use Twitter's search. It bites.

--KarenB

Tom said...

I like Ralph a great deal and I am really glad he has a chance like this. I am sad that Bill W. is gone in such a fashion, and I have enjoyed his work this year. In terms of improvement, , it seems that Weber actually read our posts over the past few years and became the kind of PXP guy we all want! TNT is far and away the superior broadcast product this year so far. And ratings up for the first time? That is surprising! Lets just wish Ralph and gang the best and hope that word trickles out that these guys are doing it right and hopefully some changes at ESPN and FOX are not far behind!


Tom
Inverness, FL

Adam said...

Well, I may just watch Daytona this weekend.

I was not a fan of Weber.

Anonymous said...

comment on some previous comments:
I would think there's a big differnece between Barkley and Weber as far as TNT's tolerance. As to Weber going to ESPN - there'd be a bunch of Weber's former NASCAR co-workers from NBC days that are current ESPNers that would NOT be happy about that reunion.
Everything I heard from a buddy that has been on the NASCAR TV circuit for several years says Bill's just a bad guy, a legend in his own mind and a waste of hair spray.
But that's just me.

GinaV24 said...

I will not miss Weber on the broadcast. He has always been irritating to me and when I used to listen to NBC's race broadcast on the scanner, the things that were said by him before the mikes went "hot" were IMO out of line.

Whatever his personal issues, well, we all have them and we all have to deal with the consequences. I won't miss Mr. Pompous for the PXP.

Anonymous said...

I've know Bill for years and while he is very intense, he is not a bad person, like some would have you believe.

In the years we worked together nobody worked harder or put in more time at his job than Bill.

I'm hoping he gets things worked out, because I can tell you from experience, once you're out of the game for a small amount of time nobody wants to talk to you.

JK

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I've been in the business before. Unless Weber did something egregiously illegal, if you're a name (and he is), employers will usually tolerate quite a bit before letting you go. If they let you go this easily, it sounds like they were looking for an excuse and Bill gave them one.

One of the guys in The News, and by that I mean Huey Lewis' backing band, once had a great line on how the band had stayed together 30 years: "You don't bring a jerk onto your (tour) bus," meaning you don't hire difficult people.

Given what I've seen overlooked during my time from others (especially those who happen to be both female and attractive), Weber must have really cooked someone at TNT to get the heave-ho.

Anonymous said...

Keep WEBER off my TV!

CPWizard said...
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Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

Sorry, working with TNT to put out the information that is about the broadcasts. I understand that some fans want to know what happened.

Personal issues away from the track are really not an issue for us here. We all make mistakes and Bill is paying dearly for his.

Thanks,

JD