Thursday, September 10, 2009

Updated: Tough Two Weeks For "NASCAR Now"


Note: With the fact that NASCAR Now did not appear in its scheduled timeslot again last (Wednesday) night, we are going to continue this post for one more day. In addition, even more big breaking news will be pushed to the overnight shift with the RPM and Yates merger announcement. It turns out that this really was a rough two weeks for NASCAR fans wanting news and interviews on TV.

This is the first season of US Open tennis on the ESPN networks. The live coverage forced several daily shows to move off of ESPN2 during the weekdays. One show was called Sports Nation and the other was NASCAR Now.

On the weekdays, Sports Nation was moved over to the ESPNEWS Network and kept in its 4PM timeslot. NASCAR Now was simply cancelled. The late night re-air of the show was now the only time to see it.

Fans setting the DVR to record NASCAR Now then found that tennis had often run long and pushed the entire TV schedule back. Instead of trying to hit NASCAR Now on time, ESPN ran all the scheduled shows before it got to NASCAR, even if those shows were re-airs.

While the US Open is a great event, NASCAR deserved better treatment. It would have been easy to move NASCAR Now to ESPNEWS. The 5PM timeslot would not have been a problem. The Sports Nation show is an interactive talk show that features an ESPN radio personality and a female host. NASCAR Now is a program that documents a major American sport.

ESPN paid hundreds of millions of dollars to NASCAR in order to get in a position to show the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races. These two weeks are crucial in terms of getting interviews and information out to the fans as the dramatic Richmond race approaches on Saturday night.

Fundamentally, this was a bad time of the year to move the sport's only daily TV show to the overnight shift for two weeks. Kudos to the ESPN.com staff who tried very hard to put as many NASCAR interviews and features online as possible, but it certainly is not the same as a thirty minute TV program.

ESPN has worked very hard for the past three seasons to revamp this TV series. NASCAR Now has become a very watchable and respected program. Changes in on-air talent and the format of the program have paid off.

Perhaps, ESPN will put this learning experience in the books and realize they took away the best promotional tool for the Chase in their possession. The Thursday version of NASCAR Now airs at 1AM ET Friday morning...hopefully.

TDP would like your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

55 comments:

Richard in N.C. said...

If EESPN already has 10 lbs. of stuff wedged into an 8 lb. bag and then adds another lb. of stuff, it would seem to me that one of the Evil Empire's prime concerns is trying to lock up as much of the available content as possible to ward off any possible competitor and to live up to its corporate motto - Quality is Job None.

Dot said...

I tried to watch NN a couple of times this week. Kept seeing Tennis or football related shows.

I won't be making any future efforts.

Richard in N.C. said...

Dot, better football or tennis than Sports Notion, which I got a recording of - cat threw up.

Snafam said...

Ditto to Dot! I have given up on trying to figure out when it will air, and I have taken it off of my DVR show list. I hate wasting space for shows I have no interest in.

If we get cranky over not having stable start times for races, it is just as annoying that we can't see a show in it's normal time slot.

Tom said...

Slightly unrelated thought, but with ABC likely showing Michigan/Notre Dame to a big chunk of the country, anyone have a guess how they'll handle Countdown, or if we get an epic, will they hold the start of the race...
The curious in me wonders aloud...

Anonymous said...

Galactically stupid move.

Gymmie said...

@Richard--uhm...ewwwwwwwwww....so is cats barfing a new sport now? Why on earth would it be on a sports show? I of course haven't seen it but doesn't sound like a good show.

peggyann said...

OK, it's 12:48 Eastern, no sign of Nascar Now. Sports Center is on now, the crawl says NFL Live is next. I just wanted to see Ryan McGee's shaving cut, LOL.

RobFromToronto said...

My local sports station that carries nascar..TSN..treats nascar and allr elated programming as toilet fodder..thru-out the year..they often time shifted nascar races..so we folks in toronto have on occasion not gotten the race live..and as for Nascar Now..it is tossed in when a time filler is needed...thru-out this season..we've gotten maybe 3-4 episodes of nascar now locally..to listen to nascar wrapups or news programming..i have to listen to TheFan590 local radio to catch Eric Thomas nascar weekly program..its early in the morning once a week..so..my friends in the U.S..you kinda have it really good..cause we in canada are getting "bad word" 'd...lol

Sally said...

I haven't managed to get NN yet this week. I've given up. If ESPN can't even give a time to air it accurately, then I'm not going to bother. Yet another 'thumbing my nose at you' moment from ESPN to Nascar fans. And just when we thought they may be listening....

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I still miss RPM Tonite!
Not only did that show keep up with Nascar they also covered the NHRA,(no coverage anywhere now)they had open wheel Wednesdays which i watched for the coverege of WOO and Silvercrown.
While i like Nascar Now i find that sometimes its more of an extention of the Nascar dog and pony show than it is about meat and potatoes racing coverage.

Anonymous said...

You know, scheduling conflicts aside, if ESPN produced NASCAR with just half of the quality they've demonstrated on the US Open tennis, we'd all be happy

BToS JD said...

I concur with Sally.

50 yr. fan said...

BSPN slicks reflect the same greedy attitude as do the
entramanures in Daytona Beach.
One would think the Frances would
want to maintain the image sought by their forefathers.

It's all about the dollar.

rich said...

Someone very high up the chain of command at ESPN hates Nascar.
I can't believe that Brian France is letting this slide.

Haus14 said...

I would like to see ESPN completely overhaul their programming. Put all of the news type shows on ESPN News and leave ESPN and ESPN 2 for live sports. That way the sports themed news shows (college football live, nfl live, nascar now, etc) would never be preempted or moved due to live sports conflicts. Maybe it makes too much sense, but it would sure make things simpler for Joe fan trying to keep up with his favorite sport.

Anonymous said...

The treatment of NN is a very clear message from ESPN management as to what they think of NASCAR and it's fans. We and the sport are viewed as third string benchwarmers, the first ones to be cut.

DL said...

Just want to point out that all the shows get shifted forward when tennis runs over. My son was wondering where the shifting stops? because he's thinking programming would be 40 days behind by now... But I agree an effort should have been made to put NN either earlier in the day, before tennis, or on another ESPN channel at a reasonable time. I'd also like to see future DVR & cable software compensate for program overages and record the correct show. I'm NOT giving up, I still have DVR set to record all first-run NN because tennis isn't forever.

Daly Planet Editor said...

DL,

Great comment. Normally, there is a designated program that is cut-down to allow a specific show to hit on time.

Often, this is a first-run show that sits amid repeats. Sports Nation is an afternoon show that repeats before NASCAR Now, so my thought was that it would be cut down in order to start the original airing of NN on time.

Instead, this dated show that contains mostly hype and general sports talk was run in its entirety and NN was pushed off the DVR's of most fans.

It is just a continuing part of the struggle for NASCAR to get the same level of acceptance and respect is used to get at ESPN in the 1980's and 90's.

JD

Smiff_99 said...

ESPN makes me so angry that I've often contemplated driving down to Connecticut and beating the tar out of every programming director they have to offer.

Of course if I did this, I'd end up in jail and nothing would get accomplished.

So instead I'll settle for ranting on TDP.

I haven't seen a NN show yet this week. Every night.....midnight.......I'm there in front of the tv.......and NN is nowhere to be found. OH, it's now 1 am......and STILL.....no NN.

It's so sad......unless you've got the internet (which I don't, unless I'm at work) you have absolutely NO idea what's going on in the world of NASCAR until Fri, Sat, Sun.

The rest of the week......I'm left in the dark.

I wonder what it's like to be a stick-and-ball sports fan....knowing that there is ALWAYS something about your sport on any of the three ESPN networks.

I'm afraid none of us NASCAR fans will ever, ever, EVER know what that feels like.

So depressing......

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
DL,

Great comment. Normally, there is a designated program that is cut-down to allow a specific show to hit on time.

Often, this is a first-run show that sits amid repeats. Sports Nation is an afternoon show that repeats before NASCAR Now, so my thought was that it would be cut down in order to start the original airing of NN on time.

Instead, this dated show that contains mostly hype and general sports talk was run in its entirety and NN was pushed off the DVR's of most fans.

It is just a continuing part of the struggle for NASCAR to get the same level of acceptance and respect is used to get at ESPN in the 1980's and 90's.

JD

September 10, 2009 9:53 AM

Maybe the spots on SportsNation have been sold with the understading that they be shown on the other airings beside just the first?
If the spots sold or if any have been sold for NN were worth something, you can bet the show would be set in a later time slot or shown on ESPNNEWS!
Why push the disrespect angle over the solid business one?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Good question. Often, commercials are not dropped at all if a segment or two of a program is dropped for time constraints. The spots are just redistributed.

Well in advance, commercial continuity guidelines are issued along with programming guidelines during live events.

Part of the delicate balance between programming and sales is answering the kind of questions you just posed well in advance.

On the topic of moving the show over to ESPNEWS for a 5PM airing, there is not real commercial issue. That is where the respect issue comes into play.

JD

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for your comments on SPEED's daily NASCAR show. Oh, yeah, thats right, they don't have one! So much for being a racing network.

peggyann said...

Anon 11:35, this is about a program which is listed on ESPN and shows up at any old time they like.

NASCAR Now was finally on at 1:30 AM ET this morning. And it was a pretty good show, too bad more people couldn't see it, because if they set their recorders for the published time, they got Sports Center.

Interesting that Mike Massaro said several times that the Thursday show would be at 10 PM PT. Period. No mention of other time zones.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:35AM,

There are some rumors around that a new show is on tap for next season from SPEED. Once I get the details they will be passed along ASAP.

JD

Anonymous said...

ESPN needs to realize that Nascar also have a huge fan base just like the NFL and needs to stop treating it like the step-child.

Anonymous said...

JD,

This is off topic but with TV ratings up does it hurt us the fans who believe that ESPN can give us a better coverage?

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

I was up (not to watch NN), but I did notice the bump back. It's lame and getting old fast.

But since it's chase time, no big loss for me if I WASN'T up. Just the same ol' babble every night.

I will be up again tonight, but if there's nothing new (or interesting)... I'm not gonna bother keeping it on.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
ESPN needs to realize that Nascar also have a huge fan base just like the NFL and needs to stop treating it like the step-child.

September 10, 2009 1:35 PM

Please provide the ratings of these 2 "huge fan bases"..Might not like it, but the numbers do show that NASCAR is a step-child, like every other sport compared to the NFL!!!!

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

Manske has been holding her own on the thirty minute shows. She also has been working well with Ricky Craven and even Boris Said on the one hour weekend preview and review shows.

Her weakness continues to be the learning curve when hosting a show that needs to talk about NASCAR live and cover lots of topics.

She just does not have the experience that Allen Bestwick and Mike Massaro have with the sport.

Only fix for that is time, but if you remember Erik Kuselias and Doug Banks than the issues with Manske fade rather quickly.

Can anyone forget when Rick Hendrick said to Kuselias: "Did you see Days of Thunder? You know I am the guy in that movie, right?"

Classic!

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

When it rains, it pours. Richard Petty Motorsports has announced plans to merge with Yates Racing in 2010 and run Fords.

This basically means that the combination of RPM and Yates will be four Fords from the Roush organization.

Get that news at 1AM ET on NASCAR Now, if tennis does not run long...again.

JD

glenc1 said...

to be honest...I've been enjoying the tennis for the first time in a few years...just kind of lost interest for awhile. Agree with anon 7:41...

The point about the ads in Sportsnation might explain it, but I find it a total waste of time. 'Pretty' hosts with nothing to say. I was thinking, people complain that Countdown is a rerun of Nascar Now clips, well, at least they'll be new to many of us! And it is good that they're putting some of it online, but why not put the whole show online? Let us have to watch the commercials, I don't care.

Richard in N.C. said...

In light of the recent NASCAR Now airing debacle, I am about to come to the conclusion that EESPN executives are just like Jimmy Spencer - they never forget.

Jonathan from the SouthSide Of Chicago said...

you would think w the recent surge in the ratings that ESPN would air NN.. I makes no sense and please can someone shoot the hosts of sports nation my god I cant take that show anymore!!!! im going to leap out my window next time that show takes the place of nn. It makes me sick. ESPN WAKE THE *#@) UP PLEASEEEEE

RobFromToronto said...

Petty is going Ford?..hot diggity..its 1969 all over again..wheres David Pearson when ya need him :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Yes, it's true. The late night Wednesday edition did not air in its timeslot.

Viewers saw SportsCenter and not a moment of NASCAR news.

PammH said...

Did it air at all. JD? I'm gonna try to tape tonite, w/all the news today.

Newracefan said...

NN and ESPN I GIVE UP. You have been deleted from my series recordings on my DVR. I tried really I did but you have shown this Nascar fan how much you care about me so why should I bother to go out of my way for you.

Dot said...

BSPN2 a mess right now. I'm guessing NN won't be on @ 10PM/1AM.

bryanh said...

I quit watching NN when they started moving it to different times. Its not worth the hassle. Even though I don't know how the ESPN, and Jayski deal was made, Jayski still has the breaking news, most of the time before its even on their website(ESPN). For Nascar info I go there, and for media stuff, and lots more info on plenty of subjects TDP.

West Coast Diane said...

Forgot to take NN off my "season pass". Earlier this evening deleted the 5 listings without even taking a look!

2nd word veri...barferic! Richard is that your cat...LOL!

Anyone notice that the Notre Dame game is 3 1/2 hours, not 3...hope that is enough not to cause channel musical chairs.

OT...new feature on Directv. When I DVR'd race stuff for the weekend, every race related show, whether practice,qual,the races, even Nascar live...I got an option that said "this program could run long, do you want to extend the run time". Interesting.

Karen said...

NN came on 1:03-ish. I watched SportsNation and it was a hoot. Don't know about a daily dose of it but it was funny as heck.

Farfel said...

Gee, maybe ESPN can find even more new ways to torture NASCAR fans.

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

Well, the Thursday night/Friday morning edition of NN was right on time and was a great show.

Marty Smith and Angelique Chengelis provided all the info on the breaking Petty/Yates merger.

They covered the manufacturers, the drivers and how this would put a lot of current RPM guys out of work.

It was hosted by Mike Massaro and covered a lot of ground in setting up the action on the track today in Richmond.

Shame it was on the overnight shift.

The show gets back to normal times today as ESPN handles a lot of the Richmond activity.

Thanks for all the good comments on this topic.

JD

David said...

VERY happy to hear Marty Reid at RIR

Tom said...

Diane,
Most college football games are given a 3 1/2-hour broadcast window. For Notre Dame-Michigan, that means NASCAR Countdown SHOULD come on once it's over.
Considering it's Notre Dame-Michigan, I'm not banking on it.

Bruce Simmons (NBaP) said...

At least ESPN (Especially Silly Programming Nuttiness) is consistent in how they can't seem to properly schedule anything and pushes aside most everything NASCAR related to whatever... much like their parent Co. and AMV!
.
My guess is that the demographic that makes up who we are, NASCAR fans, just doesn't rank with the upper mukkity mucks at eAsBpCn.

Anonymous said...

I'm so frustrated I could chew tiles. This has been a big mess, and ESPN should be dunked in old engine oil for treating NN like a red-headed stepchild. Wait, worse than! I've felt totally disconnected from Nascar on this, the biggest week leading up to the biggest race, with tons happening. Why, she cried, why did you mess with Nascar Now?

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

I doubt even hardcore fans would not feel disgusted by this.

Anonymous said...

I hope Bestwick comes back with a tan. He deserved this vacation and will be warmly welcomed back when he returns. Nicole Manske isn't up to the job.

Richard in N.C. said...

Well Poo. After all the false starts this week I forgot about searching for and trying to tape N-Now, so of course it was meaningful yesterday.

WC Diane, no - but, I believe barferic may be Armenian for Cowherd.

itsonlyrockandroll said...

Is there any way on earth to stop
Jabber Jarret ? If so please inform God.. and maybe she can help