Sunday, January 10, 2010
Sunday Starts The 2010 NASCAR TV Season
Well, how was your vacation? If you are a NASCAR TV fan, I ask because Sunday it is all over. At 7PM ET, The SPEED Report hits the air and eleven months and thousands of hours of NASCAR TV begins again.
It will be Adam Alexander and Bob Varsha co-hosting this first telecast. TSR has transformed itself into an outstanding program featuring news, results and features on all types of motorsports. NASCAR is expected to be front and center on this day.
One hour of general motorsports featuring NASCAR is a good way to get back into the TV groove because this year is going to be very different. Monday through Thursday, there will be now be two NASCAR specific television programs on the air for the entire season.
ESPN2 returns NASCAR Now beginning February 1 with hosts Allen Bestwick, Mike Massaro and Nicole Manske. The one hour Monday show gives way to thirty minute versions on weekdays and an hour preview show on weekends. Ricky Craven has confirmed that he will be back as a regular panelist, as will ESPN's cast of race analysts and news reporters.
When the ESPN motorsports executives fixed this program by changing announcers and format, the series came alive. 2009 featured some outstanding interviews, features and even a cameo from President Obama during a White House visit to promote the sport. This year, the show is going to face a new challenge.
Race Hub on SPEED is also back beginning Monday and that is good news for fans. The drawback of NASCAR Now is that it originates from the ESPN studios in Connecticut. Pre-arranged satellite interviews and phone calls are the primary contact that the series maintains with the Concord and Mooresville, NC areas where the vast majority of the teams are located.
SPEED is still settling into the new HD studios right down the road from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. In returning Race Hub, the network has committed to a Monday through Thursday show that is intended to get NASCAR personalities live in the studio to discuss the issues of the day.
Randy Pemberton, John Roberts, Adam Alexander and Rick Allen will all take turns hosting this week. Guests are still being firmed up, but Danica Patrick's name has been bounced around as being on the program on Monday. That would be a nice touch for both SPEED and Ms. Patrick as she gets her feet wet in the sport.
Update: Danica is now confirmed as a guest on Tuesday's Race Hub on SPEED.
While there is no TV scheduled from the Speed and Sound event this weekend, the Daytona Fan Festival will feature two live programs on Jan. 15 and 16 on SPEED. Over on HBO, the first of four programs in the 24/7 documentary series focusing on Jimmie Johnson preparing for Daytona airs on Jan. 26. Finally, details of a four part TV series focusing on JGR will be out shortly. The first of those programs airs on Jan. 24.
Slowly, during the month of February, the remainder of the NASCAR TV series will return and lead us up to the first weekend of racing. We will welcome a new Wednesday TV series on Showtime even as we wait for word from SPEED on the return of This Week in NASCAR. We continue to be cautiously optimistic.
TDP will have a full multi-network composite TV schedule on the main page that includes all the network announcers and guests. In short order, the information will start coming in and the NASCAR TV scene will get right back up to speed.
How was your off-season? Should SPEED and ESPN maintain some sort of presence on the air during December and January? Did Twitter and the Internet more than make up for any off-season TV show as far as NASCAR information is concerned? Would you have watched more off-season programming like races, reruns of shows and historical programs?
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