Saturday, April 24, 2010

Showtime Backlash Continues To Grow


We originally talked about this issue in January. The NASCAR Media Group had announced during the Charlotte media tour that it would be producing a brand new major TV series for the 2010 season.

It was only weeks earlier when SPEED had confirmed the cancellation of the long-running Monday night one-hour review program that had aired in several forms and with several titles. In 2009, it had been called This Week in NASCAR.

After several stops and starts, TWIN seemed to be picking up steam with the trio of Steve Byrnes, Michael Waltrip and Chad Knaus. The Monday show that began as Inside Winston Cup Racing on SpeedVision had ultimately come to revolve around Michael Waltrip. Now, it was time for Waltrip to take his act to a new home.

In a surprise move, Showtime was the destination for Waltrip and friends. Inside NASCAR was the new series and it featured Chris Myers as the host with Randy Pemberton and Brad Daugherty alongside Waltrip on the panel. It also featured a brand new element.

Here is an excerpt from a TDP column on that subject:

What is worse than producing a bad TV series that everyone watches? The answer is producing a great TV series that no one watches. Welcome to Inside NASCAR on Showtime.

It has been well documented that the Achilles Heel of this new series is not production, but distribution. There are almost 90 million cable TV homes in North America, but Showtime appears in less than 18 million of them. Showtime is a premium service designed for adults who enjoy entertainment programming.

The marketing arm of Showtime is second to none. The company knows how to promote and it involved all types of social media networking in the campaign surrounding Inside NASCAR. One of the most effective tools is the show's Facebook fan page.

In only a few short months, the Facebook site has over one hundred thousand fans. However, upon closer inspection it is clear that many of those fans don't have Showtime in their homes. So, what do they want? It's easy to scroll down the comments and answer that question. They want TWIN back on a non-premium cable network and they want it now.

After patiently starting up and explaining the show, the Facebook pot has started to boil. This is the latest post from the network's moderator:

This show was never on SPEED. It is not TWIN or any other old show. It is brand new as of February. People keep mentioning how we stole it or moved it, but it's an original series on Showtime. Can't we all just get along?

While Showtime is technically correct, the site of Waltrip sitting on a panel and cutting up while reviewing highlights and talking about racing is an all too familiar one. Many fans firmly believe Showtime and NASCAR are at fault.

Here are some recent fans comments from the Inside NASCAR Facebook page:

Elaine: Just another way for NASCAR to make money off their fans. Will not buy Showtime just to see this.

Patrick: I think it is highly stupid NASCAR once again is trying to steal money from the fans who pay everyone's salaries, SHAME ON YOU!

Karen: It's bad enough I pay extra to get SPEED and FX and TNT and ESPN. Not going to pay for Showtime for one program!

Terri: I am sure Showtime paid you (NASCAR) big bucks to carry it but my question to you is... when is money more important than the LOYAL fans that have supported NASCAR year after year?? Shame on NASCAR!


Rather than slowing down, the backlash and the number of critical comments seems to be growing. As the season continues and more storylines emerge, it's no wonder fans seem frustrated. This situation has been made even worse by the fact that SPEED replaced TWIN on Monday's with an amateur talent contest actually hosted by Waltrip.

Fans get the double whammy of having to subscribe to Showtime to see Inside NASCAR while everyone can see Waltrip introduce cloggers, magicians and singers in the very hour many seemed to cherish. Fast Track to Fame is certainly interesting television for a motorsports network.

So, here we sit with nothing resolved and lots of great TV being seen by almost no one. Fans have a point. They are not going to spend money and subscribe to a premium network for a one-hour weekly show. Showtime also has a point. The network paid the piper and now owns the program. It's a standoff.

Nothing is being hurt in this equation more than NASCAR. The sport could really use broad distribution of a quality mid-week TV series like this now more than ever. It seems ironic that the real bottom line in this equation is money. Showtime spent it and they want the fans to help them make it back.

Where do you stand on this issue as a fan? What side do you take? Is there really anyone to blame? We would appreciate 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.

Click here for a direct link to the Facebook fan page for Inside NASCAR on Showtime.

47 comments:

TheCarpenterKitchen said...

My service gives me ESPN and Showtime but not Speed (or Hallmark or Nickelodeon). Nothing makes sense.
Miss Speed but will not pay 29.99 for it.

GinaV24 said...

Well, I'm one of the fans who won't pay to see Showtime JUST for one show. A week or so ago, my favorite driver was going to be on the program and I was wishing I could see the show, but although I'm sorry I missed seeing him, it still doesn't make economic sense for me to buy a premium channel to see a show that MIGHT have something I want to watch once in a while.

One of the big factors in my decision not to buy Showtime to see Inside NASCAR is that I don't like Mikey. I used to enjoy him in the old days of TWIN, with Allen, Schrader and Benson, together the chemistry made the show fun and cracked me up. But TWIN morphed into the phenomenon that both DW and Mikey suffer from -- they talk too much -- often about NOTHING and that didn't amuse me, so I stopped watching the show.

I understand that Showtime has paid for the rights to the show and therefore they can do what they want with distribution. As they have found out though, NASCAR fans are a vocal group and are pretty ticked at a lot of things about the sport right now. The decision that NASCAR made to have this show put on a premium channel that has such a low distribution frustrates fans - and I'm one of them because it goes along with the same type of decisions that have been made about streaming NASCAR content and limited access.

Personally I find it kind of funny that Showtime is so surprised that the fans are upset about the limited access. Give race fans a public forum for their opinions and they will tell you what they think and how they feel. Love him or hate him, Mikey has a lot of people who tuned in to TWIN to watch because of it.

I'm going to go join the facebook page via the link you gave just so I can follow along.

NASCAR, IMO, continues to make business decisions that alienate their fans. I understand that it makes them money, but at what price?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the blog. i don't have showtime nor the money to add it to my cable lineup. i miss TWIN terribly. i have quit watching Monday night on Speed because the only thing i want to see on Mondays is The Racing Chef and it replays later in the week.

Mudflap said...

Showtime has nothing to apologize for. They have created a program with compelling content that obviously many people would like to have access to.

In my opinion, this is NASCARs' fiasco; in trying to maximize their financial gain, they sold the rights to their product without thought to any kind of cohesiveness in terms of what the fans wanted. Thus the conflicts between TMG, Fox, ESPN, Showtime, and Speed. NASCAR also appears to have failed to keep any rights in terms of quality control, so we have to put up with talent shows and other entertainment programming being marketed under the NASCAR programming banner, instead of what most of us really want, which is actual racing.

Perhaps as the current contracts expire, these mistakes may be rectified. I'm not holding my breath.

Go Mariners!

Kyle said...

I personally get Showtime as it was actually cheaper to get it with the other movie channels we have. And...it could possibly be the best NASCAR show on tv that no one is watching...because hardly anyone has the channel.

The NASCAR Media group made a mistake because of this. NASCAR would really benefit with this show being on a major network. I though Versus was wanting to get more involved in NASCAR, that would have been a great network for the show since Speed seems to be more concerned with turning into the Food Network 2.

It is a great show, very informative, very well produced, and pretty entertaining. Michael doesn't really do any sponsor plugs, Chris Meyers doesn't joke as much as he does on the Fox pre race show, Randy Pemberton has great opinions, and well, I would just prefer Brad Daugherty go back to the NBA but he is okay.

With that being said, I don't think the show is worth the $15/month many cable/sat providers charge to add it, which is where the problem lies, as you pointed out. Especially in this economy where many people can't afford to just pile on the costs to their TV bill.

RPM said...

I have trouble blaming NASCAR on this. Unless I'm missing something, NASCAR did not cancel TWIN, Speed did. If TWIN was still around I'm sure Inside NASCAR would still be on Showtime.

It is a great show that is uncensored and let's you hear drivers in full rant on the radio. That is something you would never hear or even discussed on SPEED.

The problem is not NASCAR or Showtime. The problem is SPEED once again shooting themselves in the foot at the viewers expense.

I already am a Showtime subscriber so the show is just a bonus for me.

Luke said...

I agree. I'm not paying for a subscription to showtime just to watch a weekly show.

I also agree that while it "technically" is a new show, no it's not. Michael gave what ended as TWIN its feel. It centered around him. Seeing something which is very familiar, yet now behind a subscription, is also very frustrating.

I will not fault a company from trying to regain their investment, and even make a buck or two. However, what is the real cost of this? Some fans already feel alienated, and the replacement just isn't decent television. (Nothing personal, Rac.)

Perhaps another alternative lies in wait, but I'm none to sure. Whether there is or not, change may not come quick enough for some.

Richard in N.C. said...

I believe this is (or should be) a tempest in a tea pot. While my favorite sport is auto racing, if I had my choice I would choose to subscribe to the NFL Network rather than Showtime - but I cannot get the NFL Network at any price unless I go to satellite and I am not sure whether my condo association allows dishes.

whiney said...

I pay for Showtime and I look forward to seeing Inside NASCAR each week.

For my money, it's the best NASCAR show out there. Certainly it is better than TWIN was. The 2 part race recaps are great, and the features are interesting.

Heck, my wife, who doesn't like auto racing, tolerates watching the show with me, because she finds the highlights compelling. That says something.

This isn't really any different then paying for ESPN or Speed...it's just on a higher pay tier, so it makes people angry.

Anonymous said...

Bring TWIN back with Chad and Mike and Schrader.

tom in dayton said...

JD:
A couple of comments.
A few weeks ago, when Showtime had its "free weekend", I watched several programs on that channel (including Inside NASCAR) and reached the conclusion that, after having Showtime ten years ago and dropping it for lack of interest, I didn't see the need to renew it just for the NASCAR programming.
It's a shame, because the program is excellent, but not worth the extra money one has to shell out to watch just one program per week on the Showtime channel.
Who do I blame? Not Showtime. Rather, the decision-makers at SPEED for replacing TWIN with the sad Fast Track program and the sadder Spencer program. Race Hub is okay, but certainly has ways to go, but that Monday night after-the-race wrapup and preview show is surely missed. My wife and I watch NASCAR NOW on Mondays, but, while the content is good, it is what we have grown to expect from ESPN and doesn't have the spontaneity that TWIN used to have on the same night.
My feeling is that INSIDE NASCAR will be like John Wall at UK - a "one and done". So sad!

bevo said...

I honestly don't understand the angst about this show. If you want to watch it pay for it, if you don't then don't. I enjoy the show and think that Showtime does an excellent job (even if they still use that couch) but if it went away tomorrow it wouldn't cause me to go out and jump off of a cliff.

Entertainment is business - big business. Professional sports are really big business. All any team or league wants is money.

If ratings and advertisers wanted TWIN to be on the air it would still be on SPEED.

Ara Crittenden said...

I just looked at the Facebook page for Inside NASCAR after reading your blog entry. I was flabbergasted to see they are offering a $25 "prepaid card" (is that a funny way of saying gift card???). I think it's a great offer, but what blew me away is that Showtime is refering to this gift card as a "Collector's Item."

Really? A Collector's Item? A piece of plastic? Seems to indicate that NASCAR fans are willing to eat anything NASCAR feeds them, with their funny duddy language no other professional sport would think to employ. I think Showtime and NASCAR are extremely condescending on this point.

Another question I have, is the OnDemand feature on cable in regards to the SPEED Channel....why are there absolutely ZERO NASCAR programs OnDemand on the SPEED Channel. That seems God Awful Goofy, when again, all the other major professional sports, NFL, MLB, NBA have extensive OnDemand programming. Once again seems NASCAR missed the train on that one.

JoeS said...

Wow....If people want to watch, just work it into your budget
One less pack of cigs..sixpack..pack your lunch...or something else each week. $3 week plus the other programing you will get. Just another example of how hard it is to please the always complaining NASCAR Fan. It is a very good show, that yes you must pay for...

Tom said...

Yeah, I hear a lot of whining about something people can't have from people who I wouldn't expect that. It is not "your" show people!! No one,and i mean no one, )Showtime, Micheal Waltrip, even NASCAR) "owes" you anything! This argument sounds like people really believe they have the "right" to see this show! If the show succeeds, then Showtime will have done enough to be happy, should it fail, then it will, the market will decide. Showtime isn't looking for ratings, they want subscribers. If you want to see it, buy it....If you don't, move on.

Tom
Inverness FL

KoHoSo said...

Let me tell y'all a little story and see if it sounds familiar...it's a little long but bear with me especially if you're one of the people that want TWIN back on Speed.

Many years ago now, there was a program on regular over-the-air television that I still think was one of the best and most groundbreaking of all time -- SCTV (the show that gave us John Candy, Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara of Home Alone fame, Eugene Levy of American Pie fame, Harold Ramis of Ghostbusters, the characters of Bob & Doug McKenzie, and much more). For those that don't know or remember, SCTV did not just appear out of thin air on NBC.

Before that (other than in its native Canada), SCTV was shown in what one could say would be the equal to a not-too-well-distributed cable network -- it was only syndicated in a relative handful of markets that showed it very, very late on Saturday nights/Sunday mornings. Yet, somehow, word began to spread about this crazy but entertaining program from a region that most dismissed as irrelevant. After two or three years of building an audience, the big boys at NBC took notice and all of America got a chance to see SCTV.

As with any TV show, changes happened in the wake of success and those all too inevitable "creative differences" with the network as well as among the cast and writers. John Candy, Rick Moranis, and Dave Thomas all left and Martin Short became the most prolific member of the cast. Ratings began to drop because some favorites were not there (after all, who didn't love John Candy?) and a good portion of viewers found Martin Short to be taking over too much and, frankly, extremely irritating.

I myself still loved the show even though my favorite skit, "Great White North," was now gone. But, ratings plummeted anyway and NBC eventually canceled the show.

Yet, there was still life for SCTV after its fall from major network television grace. It ended up on Cinemax. This was very painful for me personally because I lived in Sacramento which was one of the last major cities to get cable so we had no Cinemax or anything else (other than HBO over microwave). Elsewhere, many cable systems did not carry Cinemax choosing to go exclusively with its already well-established parent channel, HBO. And, just like now, even those that could get Cinemax on their cable system had to pay more money per month in order to see it (with a scant few exceptions).

Yes, there was sadness that there was still some great comedy going on and hardly anybody was seeing it. However, there was also a realization by most that the "mass appeal" days of the show were over and it needed something "obscure" like Showtime to continue. And, perhaps it was because these were the days when nobody had ever heard of the Internet, but there was no great letter-writing campaign filled with emotional diatribes about how NBC "owed it to us" to keep showing SCTV because "we paid their salaries."

So...sound familiar? Folks, things change and people move on. We are not owed anything by a television program, even the news. People need to face the fact that the "mass appeal" of TWIN died over several years, just like SCTV, when some people left and one guy became too much for too many to stand. I'm sorry, but that's how the cookie crumbles in the world of television.

Of course, the difference in this case is something that I have said here for a long, long time...that Speed never should have "fixed" what was never broken. However, what's done is done and I would say to the protesters in this case that it's high time to move on.

That's all I have to say about it. So, in the spirit of what I talked about above for those of you that remember this fondly like I do...

May the Good Lord take a likin' to ya and blow you up real good! :-D

JohnP said...

Where do I stand? Showtime. Showtime has a right to air whatever it wants that they have copyrights to. I also have a right not to view or pay for it. Which I won't.

Who do I blame? Nascar. Nascar has no control over it's business indentity. Espn stunk last year, Nascar could not do anything about it. Fox is even far worse this year, and Nascar can't do anything about it. Fox wants to extend a post race show online and it's not allowed by Turner Broadcasting(nascar.com), and Nascar can't do anything about it. Nascar has no control over nascar.com(Turner Broadcasting), and Nascar can't do anything about it. The new show "Fast Track to Fame" with Waltrip is absolutly degrading to Nascar fans. It's makes us look like a bunch of bumkins in a corn patch. And trust me, we are not, and Nascar can't even stop that. That show degrades Nascar anything more then I can think of, uses Nascar's theme, their driver. It's simply an ugly side of Nascar. And they can't stop them.

Nascar sold it's soul, and now it's paying the price.

Donna in FL said...

I would love to see Inside NASCAR every week. But, unfortunately, SHO doesn't have any other programming that I'm interested enough in to pay extra for plus there's alot on there I don't want in my house. So that's my take, one show is not worth the extra monthly fee. And that's too bad for NASCAR, all that exposure pretty much going unseen, sounds like its becoming a really good show. It's still my opinion that all these things are experimentation for a future NASCAR Channel, which I would pay extra for (as part of a Sports tier), provided the content includes a lot of history type shows and NOT a stupid non-racing related talent show. PS Madhouse would fit on a NASCAR Channel.
On a side note, I don't mind at all SHO getting to sponsor the Darlington race as part of their pkg.

Brett said...

I will not sign up to Showtime just for this one hour show. However, once The Pacific ends on HBO I will switch to Showtime for Califonication, Weeds and Inside the NFL. Getting Inside NASCAR at that point will just be a bonus.

matriarch said...

As long as Michael is a part of it, I have no reason to watch and every reason not to. The Waltrip brothers need to take a hike back to Ky and let fans enjoy Nascar once more.

Anonymous said...

Inside Nascar is a very good Nascar show and its no TWIN.Now if people can't fit showtime into their budget then they should stop complaining and stick to Nascar Now.

midasmicah said...

The shift to Showtime can only hurt the show. I, like a lot of folks cannot afford showtime. As for SPEED, it has turned into Fox light. It has become unwatchable.filec

MRM4 said...

I wouldn't subscribe to Showtime regardless of how many racing shows they have because their overall programming stinks. We had a free preview on DirecTV a few weeks ago and I watched none of it, I couldn't find anything I liked that I hadn't already seen.

Jayhawk said...

Richard in N.C, your condo association must allow dishes by federal law. Our association tried to make a rule limiting where dishes can be placed, and the law even places limits on how much regulation condo associations can do regarding placement of dishes. The may not prohibit them at all.

Anonymous said...

"the site of Waltrip"..
I think you mean sight. (Although Waltrip does have a "site")

Jojaye said...

With our HD we get Speed all the E's we would have to pay extra for Showtime. We will not do it for 1 show no matter how good that show is.

How long will NASCAR continue to shoot itself? With this economy & repeated alienation of loyal fans how much can they afford? Amazing.

Fans are mad at Showtime for "stealing" TWiN ( ok maybe they did not steal it - but they sure have a kissin' cousin there)& mad at NASCAR for thinking only about their self interests & the almighty $$. I read somewhere this week Brian France will have sponsors for his funeral & Sponsor decals on his headstone - at this rate all I can do is agree.

allisong said...

I'm with Bevo on this one. I don't see the problem. This is not NASCAR sticking it to the fans, as it's being portrayed. It's a big, wide media world out there and to see the sport expand into these types of outlets is a good thing, IMO.

Also, you keep mentioning that SPEED is in some 90 million homes, while Showtime is only in 18 million. That may be true, but how many of those 90 million homes that SPEED is in actually WATCH the channel? SPEED is "in" my mother-in-law's home, but I guarantee you she will never watch anything on it. Showtime's subscribers, however, probably watch more regularly, since they are paying for it.

Anonymous said...

The show is excellent and let's be honest, it is on a premium channel becaues it is a premium show, Speed has nothing that comes close to this in terms of quality. If you don't want Showtime don't get it but my hat is off to them for a great hour of TV that I look forward to each week.

DrewH said...

I've had Showtime for years but I can't watch this show because of Chris Meyers. An hour of him on Sunday's pre-race is about all I can stand.

If they get rid of Meyers, they'll pick up at least one more viewer.

Kevin said...

"This isn't really any different then paying for ESPN or Speed...it's just on a higher pay tier, so it makes people angry."

I don't even pay for a high enough cable package to get ESPN or SPEED, so I'm certainly not paying for Showtime. (So I wasn't too happy with ABC for switching most of their fall races to ESPN, but that's another matter.) Honestly, I just think it's silly to waste money on such things.

However, I'm not sure anyone is really at fault here. Showtime is simply trying to offer a good quality show to attract new viewers, so you can't blame them for that. Most of us don't like what SPEED did (I used to watch and enjoy TWIN several years ago), but that's just another in a long series of poor decisions for them, and they're not responsible for Showtime's choice to start their show. I guess the best option is to continue letting our voices be heard, and perhaps someday things will change.

Anonymous said...

I have Showtime! I have watched the show only when the 48 wins or I know that someone I like will be on there other than that I hate the show. I think its to much fluff when all I want to hear is the inside from people who are either on the pit boxes or in the car driving. That show to me seems very odd and inpersonable. Whereas TWIN seemed very personable with the teasing among the cast. I loved Knaus, Biffle and even Mikey when he was on there. Steve Burnes was the best host on there ever even though I did like Bestwick when he was on there. I loved the chemistry between Biffle, Knaus and Mikey. I beg of you please bring back TWIN. I don't watch Speed anymore cause I hate those shows it replaced TWIN with. So I boycott it. I truly miss TWIN with all the things going on in the sport now so I have to turn into Sirius instead for the post race fews when CC for the 24 calls in to the show.
Please Please Please bring back TWIN

Anonymous said...

I'm with Bevo on this one. Showtime paid for the development of the concept and the salaries of the hosts, so they get the benefit of requiring people to subscribe to get it. No different than any other premium channel. I don't think, as greedy as NASCAR is, that they felt they were 'depriving' fans when there are other places to hear this type of programming (those perhaps not as well done.) I see it as 'luxury' programming that I choose not to pay for.

Richard...love my NFL network. Check the FCC.gov website--they can mandate where to put it (for safety or historic preservation reasons), but they can't say you can't have one.

Nancy and Dennis said...

TWIN had deteriorated into a show we rarely watched, so we don't miss seeing the new show. We originally switched from cable to Dish just to get speed so we could watch the old Inside Winston Cup. That was before Speed (and Fox) started "improving" it. It was a great shop, lively and informative, they killed it with gimmicks - the worst of which was reviewing last year's race at next weeks track in order to promote TV coverage.

Richard in N.C. said...

It seems to me that a far, far more significant issue is that the Evil Empire (EESPN) has taken NASCAR Cup races from millions of people by shifting them to EESPN from ABC and NASCAR, apparently, did nothing to stop them.

Sophia said...

I stopped watching races this season LIVE as I grew weary of screaming at the DRECK camera selection (i.e. CONSTANT in car/bumper cams) SCREWING up the flow of the race,

SPEED is a joke for Monday night shows. Cooking? "Talent show" ??? Sure there may be some faces I like but I will not watch.

SPEED said "TWIN was out of touch with the fans" allegedly, and I and others, thought nothing could be FURTHER from the truth.

I hear David Hill is behind the nonsense on Monday night and that is sad. I've also heard from those in other forms of racing that are annoyed with SPEEDS Monday night fare when more RACING SHOWS could be on (real talk, not fake reality junk like Pinks...ugh)

I felt like TWIN was my last "connection" to some conversation and what had gone on during the weekend races. I think bringing it back with Chad, Steve and maybe Juan Pablo Montoya, and somebody else (SCHRADER!) would be a compelling show. True, they forced too many VIDEOS and promo into the TWIN conversation, but I still liked it. Now, I feel distanced from the sport I used to love and no longer care about...except to keep up with DVR (last 20 laps)news on TWITTER/writers or highlights online.

I saw the Showtime show a few times and it was fine but not enough to pay extra for when the free SHOWTIME ran out.

We detest paying for digital cable but still want to watch IRL, Wind Tunnel, Form 1 races.

But just as Steve Byrnes was settling in as host of the show (after that HORRIBLE year of backwards PREVIEW & review stuff) SPEED yanked this show from us.

It was the way TWIN was canceled with no warning to us that makes me boycott the current shows on Monday night. yea, I'm only one house hold but between that and bigger life issues going on, I find it sad that I'm just too tired and burned out to WORK (i.e. multi task!!) during the telecasts of the races. But TWIN told me inside stories or fun radio scanners.

Now we have junk tv and crap aimed at 12 yrs olds (i.e. Pizza sleaze on Fox Pre race shows)

It's really quite sad how one little show being canceled honked me off and added to my dwindling interest & frustration with NASCAR suits and their ongoing bad decision making. I miss shows like Beyond the Wheel and NASCAR 360.

Bring back TWIN.

Anonymous said...

I'm with JoeS. For the $12 if would cost folks (at least on DirecTV), it's about choice. If you choose to spend that $12 on something else, don't bitch about the show being on Showtime.

I watch the show; it's a good show - MUCH between than Inside Winston Cup or TWIN after Waltrip bacame so obnoxious. The powers that be on SHO keep him on a tight leash and acting professional on there. I appreciate that.

I also see the value in ALL the other original programming on SHO as well as their movies. I don't buy or rent DVDs, so I think my money is well-spent on subscribing to SHO.

Anonymous said...

What is the problem? Inside NASCAR is a premium show and deserves to be on a premium network just like all of the other quality television series that end up on Showtime and HBO. Its time to end the class warfare. There will always be "haves" and "have nots".

glenc1 said...

KoSoHo..take off, you hoser!

my personal favorites were English for Beginners and Edith Prickley...still can't see leopard print without thinking of her...I was in one of those small markets watching late at night. Sometimes, I still want to throw my TV out the window...

I pretty much agree. I don't really know why Speed thought they needed to 'fix' TWIN, but usually it has to do with trying to improve ratings (I have no idea if they were just 'okay' or if they were dwindling before they took Allen off.) In any case, if people want to pay for the new show, that's up to them, I really don't see the point of a backlash. They don't owe anyone anything, and it's not like it's the only NASCAR programming on TV.

Anonymous said...

The problem here is not showtime. the problem is speed as it rushes to serve the troglodytes of the nation. Fifteen years ago speed was an eriadite station catering to the needs of all race fans from formula one to DTM to Nascar. I had never watched Nascar until I stumbled across IWC one Monday night. Loved the guys and started watching the races. Now I only watch speed for its very poor F1 coverage and avoid it like the plague for anything else.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't NASCAR Nation take their anger out on NASCAR, NASCAR Media Group and SPEED.

All Showtime did was acquire the rights to do a quality show. They make the old TWIN look pitiful.

Showtime has many "Original Series" like Weeds and Californication that are well worth the money.

A suggestion: Call your cable or satellite provider and ask for a "free 3 month trial of Showtime." You might like what you see and realize Showtime is not at fault here.

Anonymous said...

If people love the Waltrips so much and base their life around Mikey, they should spend whatever it takes to watch any and every show he is on. Then they can follow him and have all the opinions he has and base their feelings on what he suggests. Plus they can then have the fans he and his brother recommends. Doesn't matter what it costs or what channels they are on if you like following them rather than all the other shows that have the very same info and footages. Those shows are plentiful. Personally, I prefer to make my own choices and the Waltrips don't figure into those choices.

Richard in N.C. said...

I happened to be listening to one of the few minds on sports talk radio (Bob Valvano) the other night talking about how baseball games were getting longer, and too long. But, then he added that he understood that few fans watch many sporting events from beginning to end - that most fans watch part, wander off to some other station for a while, and maybe wander back for the end of the event. He was talking about stick and ball sports, especially baseball, and did not refer to racing. If this is the prevailing industry view, I wonder whether the constant switching from camera to camera during a race is partly done to give the impression of constant action to try to keep viewers from wandering off?

It does seem to me that most niche channels are developing middle-aged spread and now carrying programming with little or no connection to their original "mission" - like cooking on Speed and "Madhouse" on History. Someone told me that MTV now seldom shows music videos, but I haven't been interested enough to check.

Darcie said...

Well, I guess if the History Channel can have programming that has nothing to do with history,
then Speed can do shows about no-talent bozos and Emeril wannabes. But, that doesn't mean I have to watch. So much of TV has lost it soul, and we're all the worse for it. Remember when VH1 and MTV were all about MUSIC (well, at least VH1 woke up and announced they're changing their entire line up and may be going back to it's roots)? Now, it's nothing but lascivious programs catering to the lowest common denominator. I'm beginning to think we can put David Hill in the same box as the owner of Go Daddy----men who tend to think with their shorts rather than their brains. To hell with good, solid programming that caters to the real desires of the fan. Just play grab the cash and run, and fans be damned.

Anonymous said...

I like the show and I like Showtime. They have lots of HD channels and some good original programming. It's all included in my DirecTV Premier account.

dawg said...

A Great show with Michael Waltrip on it? Give me a break. I got 3 months of Showtime recently as a teaser in hopes I'd pay to continue. So I did have a brief access to this show. Never watched it, never would. If NASCAR wants to join the "big boys." They need to quit having people with conflicts of interest doing TV.
The fact that Mikey still has fans, is proof that Mr. Lincoln was right when he said "You can fool some of the people all of the time." P.T. Barnum also with "A sucker borne every minute."

GinaV24 said...

LOL at Dawg! There was an article on the "making of Inside Nascar" in the most recent issue of Nascar Illustrated -- since they cancelled Scene, they have started sending me NI as the substitute. I liked Scene, but reading NI is like watching that really hideous show that was on Speed for a while. I didn't like that either and I won't be renewing the subscription.

Bobby said...

As we (mostly) now know, The Racing Chef is not just cooking but is a way for fans to know where to go when they're in those regions. And Nicky Morse has been around the block in motorsport long enough he's a pistonhead, since he was the team chef for the Coughlins before this (reminds me of the late Frank Mundy who helped cater Penske before they hired a chef). Sometimes, that "restaurant in the region" segment reminds me of a certain Web site for race fans that shows the places to eat for fans when they're at the track.

There seems to be a shift in television first from broadcast to basic cable and now from basic cable to subscriber, or premium, cable. One reason is the alleged improved quality from narrowcasting and the ability to air programmes without censorship. The coarseness of these premium cable shows has forced networks to turn up the bleeping, gutter trash, and gore.

Richard in NC, that move by ESPN was not just wrongheaded, but I charged Disney wanted the money for themselves and punished local ABC affiliates while protecting certain shows (Desperate Housewives). The local Fox affiliates sacrifice their judge and talk shows, and some infomercials, for NASCAR races and learn they do better when run on Mondays, since the DVR's running equals ratings. The local ABC affiliate, long the #4 station in the market, lost plenty of advertising revenue thanks to this move of the Open Championship and the Chase exclusively to ESPN.

The channel issues reminds me of the Gospel Music Channel. Originally a Gospel Music themed channel, once it partnered with Robert A. Schuller's group in ad sales partnerships, it turned into a television rerun channel where they axed live Dove Awards coverage, then took over the awards site, and won't even announce the winners.

And Showtime has bought the naming rights for the 54th Annual Rebel 500 in Darlington.