Saturday, December 19, 2009
Kyle Petty Extends His Brand
NASCAR fans only had a small slice of Kyle Petty this season as he worked on the TNT portion of the Sprint Cup Series races. Petty also appeared on SPEED, but unfortunately that was on the NASCAR Smarts trivia show with Rutledge Wood.
While the six races in the TNT package drew positive reviews, Petty stood-out for his plain-spoken opinions and his high level of interactivity with the fans. Petty was one of the first Twitter-friendly NASCAR personalities. That fit right in with the overall high-tech approach of TNT to NASCAR on TV.
Sunday, the Turner family of networks gives Petty an opportunity to extend his personal brand. CNN Headline News has been renamed Headline News (HLN) and the host of the morning show is named Robin Meade.
As the end of the year approaches, Meade is set to host a one-hour special featuring Petty and several other Turner network announcers. Charles Barkley is a TNT favorite on the NBA coverage and is well-known for his outspoken style and interesting life story. Dennis Eckersley is the MLB veteran known for his colorful playing days and controversial comments as an analyst.
This is an interesting project. Meade will let the panelists talk about various topics in the news during 2010, including Tiger Woods, Bernie Madoff and President Obama. During the Tiger Woods discussion, guest Spike Lee joins the panel.
Petty made himself known to a new group of NASCAR fans when he took over for Michael Waltrip on the SPEED program series Tradin' Paint. This hour long show matched Petty up with a NASCAR journalist or media personality for a discussion of topics in the news. Petty had monumental meltdowns with the likes of Bob Pockrass, Jenna Fryer and Randy Pemberton.
Unfortunately, SPEED cancelled that show and replaced it with NASCAR Smarts. This season, instead of talking about NASCAR topics, Petty was now guessing at trivia questions while Rutledge Wood made faces at the TV cameras.
Perhaps, this Sunday night TNT program titled With All Due Respect, might show executives at SPEED that Petty is worth involving in additional NASCAR programming for 2010. Petty made a guest appearance as a panelist on RaceDay, but did not participate in programs like Race Hub and This Week in NASCAR .
SPEED has not yet advised us as to whether or not the Monday night franchise will be back for next season. Michael Waltrip is now a full-time multi-car team owner and Jimmy Spencer never clicked as the third panelist. Petty might be an interesting anchor to a new line-up should TWIN return.
It should be interesting to see Petty working on topics outside the sport on TV. Meade is a veteran host and Petty's personality would seem to fit right in with both the group assembled and the program's format.
With All Due Respect airs at 10PM ET on Sunday, with a re-air on Christmas day at 6PM. Viewers can also catch it at 7 and 10PM on December 26th and 27th.
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