Monday, October 19, 2009
Monday Night TV Mayhem
Krista Voda wore a hat, Marty Smith was stuck in the airport and somebody told Michael Waltrip to be quiet. Monday's NASCAR TV was certainly interesting.
This is the new Monday TV line-up that features NASCAR Now on ESPN and then Race Hub and This Week in NASCAR on SPEED. Fans get five more weeks of this TV tripleheader.
Allen Bestwick and the suit and tie set started the day from the ESPN2 studios. NASCAR Now is the most polished of the three shows and Bestwick played a big role in establishing this Monday power hour. Ray Evernham and Ricky Craven were alongside Bestwick as usual, but this week Marty Smith rounded out the panel.
Smith looked a little glazed after a nightmare air travel day. Bestwick did his best to avoid yet another Hendrick Motorsports lovefest, but to no avail. The #48 dynasty was front and center, including a telephone interview segment with Chad Knaus.
Craven and Evernham are a dynamic team in this environment. Once again they were finishing each other's sentences and sharing opinions. Smith held his own despite the circumstances as Bestwick led the panel through the highlights.
Ultimately, Smith offered to confirm that the Chase is basically over. Craven and Bestwick are still pushing the scenario that anything can happen in racing. In an ironic twist, it was Evernham that tried to work both sides of the street.
SPEED's mystery show is called Race Hub and runs Monday through Thursday. Now entering its second week, the Monday program had little original content and no featured drivers in the studio. Instead, Larry McReynolds and some recorded interviews tried to fill the thirty minutes. It did not work.
Krista Voda and Adam Alexander co-hosted. These two are great on TV with some structure, but this program gave them very little to work with. Monday is a key day because This Week in NASCAR is next on SPEED and is going to offer one hour of race highlights and commentary.
Race Hub was designed to get drivers, owners and other NASCAR personalities in the studio for casual conversation. On this day, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was featured. Unfortunately, his contribution consisted of recorded questions from the weekend with Alexander. His Hall of Fame responses were now days-old information.
If SPEED is going to have on-air talent and guests walking around the studio, it's important to have the place well lit. The network continues to struggle with this element, which was made worse when Voda wore a hat for the program. While this may be her trademark outside, it certainly did not work in a studio environment.
TWIN has been changing ever since Jimmy Spencer was added to the program to shake things up a bit. Spencer was his outspoken self once again, which has positive and negative ramifications for the show. Spencer challenged panelist Chad Knaus on several issues and also made his opinions known to Michael Waltrip.
In return, Waltrip tried to force himself into the program and finally heard the words "be quiet" from host Steve Byrnes. These are words that perhaps Byrnes should have said to Waltrip long before October.
The same race highlights seen on NASCAR Now and Race Hub flew by again, this time with a different set of faces making the comments. Knaus is a patient man and he often seems personally amused on this program simply by watching Waltrip and Spencer.
When asked about his ringing cell phone, Knaus told the panel he had other interviews to do after the show. That would be NASCAR Now calling. Knaus brings a fun spark to this show and offers top flight information on tracks, cars and the latest technology.
What exactly Spencer and Waltrip bring to the show these days is debatable. Waltrip offered several pro-NASCAR rants. Spencer struggled once again to even put a group of sentences together. He likes making statements. A lot of statements. Spencer should learn this is not RaceDay.
Byrnes is a veteran and navigated his way through the program with ease. What this show is becoming in these last few weeks of the season is unpredictable. That may be exactly what SPEED wanted when the network inserted Spencer into the line-up.
A little more respect for the person speaking and a little more control over the panelists by Byrnes would go a long way toward letting TV viewers really see what this group has to offer. A lot of content was lost with multiple panelists speaking at the same time this week.
All in all, an interesting Monday of NASCAR TV. If you watched, how about taking a moment to give us your opinion of these programs. Just click the comments button below to add your views. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.