Sunday, October 11, 2009
NASCAR TV Changes On Monday
It's not very clear why SPEED would put so much effort into a new NASCAR TV program this late in the season. It's also not clear why it would revamp the entire SPEED programming line-up to insert this new show at 7:30PM ET from Monday through Thursday.
The new series is called NASCAR Race Hub. It will be anchored from the new SPEED Studios right down the street from the Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Here is the official explanation on this new effort:
"We know more about our NASCAR on SPEED audience than ever before," said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. "Avid NASCAR fans watch SPEED and ‘the Hub’ will be built with this in mind. With year-to-year ratings up for SPEED’s coverage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR RaceDay and several other NASCAR on SPEED programs, as well as the historic announcement of the inaugural class for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, this is the perfect time to launch a nightly show."
Here are the highlights of what Race Hub will be offering in the first couple of days:
Monday: Krista Voda and Adam Alexander co-host the inaugural episode. The special guest will be Richard Petty and the big topic will be the Hall of Fame.
Tuesday: Voda hosts with a broadcasting guest list. Mike Joy, Rick Allen, Doug Rice and Ken Squier will continue the Hall of Fame discussion as they all have a Hall of Fame vote. Nice to see Doug Rice get some TV time.
Wednesday: One hour version beginning at 7PM. Voda co-hosts with Steve Byrnes. They will recap the Hall of Fame activities from Charlotte. Driver Bobby Labonte and SMI's Marcus Smith will be studio guests. The new 2010 Ford Mustang will be brought over from Roush Racing and will also be in the studio.
The network insists it will be rotating on-air talent through the studio hosting role, but the name Voda seems to be rather consistent in the first week.
That is a pretty good start to a brand new NASCAR TV series. This is a major change in the direction of SPEED's primetime programming. Other than TWIN on Monday nights, there has been no NASCAR presence on weekday evenings for a very long time.
Many quality TV series from the NASCAR Media Group have been cancelled by SPEED over the years. They range from NASCAR Confidential to Beyond the Wheel. Quest for the Cup now airs on Versus Tuesday evenings. Even TWIN was rumored to be on the chopping block. Now, suddenly there is a daily show and an emphasis on NASCAR with only weeks left in a ten month season.
Over at ESPN, that group has needed every bit of two years just to get NASCAR Now dialed-in to being the solid program it has become six days a week. While ESPN's emphasis is on traditional news gathering and reporting, SPEED continues to insist that Race Hub is going to be different.
The big advantage for SPEED is location. The TV studios are literally right down the street from the vast majority of the NASCAR shops and many other companies directly involved with the sport. Once NASCAR folks figure out that a quick drive over to SPEED can result in live national TV exposure for their sponsor, manufacturer or special interest, it could get interesting.
As Voda preps for the start of this project, veteran Bob Dillner comes off the road to make an appearance on The SPEED Report this Sunday night at 7PM as a co-anchor with Adam Alexander. Randy Pemberton is taking Dillner's reporting role in Fontana.
TDP will put Race Hub in the TV listings and follow this program just as we followed NASCAR Now when it began back in 2007. It should be interesting to see how the new series grows and what happens in November when the season ends. SPEED is leaving that issue up in the air for right now.
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