Sunday, May 16, 2010
David Hill Continues To Shake Things Up At FOX And SPEED
It was January when Chase Carey, the President of News Corp, decided to make some TV moves. One name mentioned in the subsequent press release was very familiar to many NASCAR fans. That was David Hill from FOX Sports, who is pictured above.
Here was the official information:
In a move designed to better align the company’s creative leadership, News Corporation Deputy Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey and Fox Networks Group (FNG) Chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra today announced a restructuring of the company’s entertainment and sports television operations.
Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) and FX Networks, (FX and the Fox Movie Channel) will now be overseen by Peter Rice, Chairman, Entertainment for the Fox Networks Group.
All sports operations, including FOX Sports, the company’s 19 regional sports networks, The Fox Soccer Channel, SPEED, Fox Sports en Espanol and FUEL TV will be under the supervision of David Hill, Chairman and CEO, FOX Sports, as will the company’s joint venture sports businesses STATS, LLC. and Big Ten Network.
Reading between the lines, Carey's intentions were very clear. Hill was being tapped to shape the future of the US sports arm of News Corp. In the past, Hill had control of FOX Sports but companies like SPEED, FoxSportsNet, FUEL TV and the regional sports networks were run by another executive. Now, Hill was in charge of everything that FOX owned related to TV sports.
The changes made since then by Hill at SPEED have been substantial. One peek at the wreckage of Monday night's NASCAR TV line-up can attest to that. Over at FSN, the new Totally NASCAR show with Jill Arrington is finally getting the NASCAR news to the regional sports networks. No easy task with RSN's in all four time zones.
This week, Dover will bring some Hill-inspired TV wrinkles that NASCAR fans should be watching for on Sunday. First, there is supposed to be a new emphasis on more news and interview content in the pre-race show. Second, FOX has announced in advance that the NASCAR on FOX gang will swing over to the SPEED network and host an extended live post-race show. This could get interesting.
Since Daytona, the Hollywood Hotel has been nothing short of a train wreck. The Slice of Pizzi segment was meant as a promo for the Cubed online program. Instead, right from the start, it has been a disaster. Maybe on an entertainment network, it has a place. But, in the pre-race show with NASCAR fans who want information, it's lost.
It should be interesting to see if Hill gives another Slice of Pizzi segment the green light with only two races left in this TV package. Click here to see Pizzi with Mark Martin.
Chris Myers, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond have been together for a long time. This season, the NASCAR on FOX pre-race show often appears to be more of a dysfunctional family than three seasoned TV veterans. Waltrip now talks over top of anyone at any time for any reason. Myers' jokes are old and embarrassing.
Hammond is desperate to get a word in edgewise and seems to enjoy the moments after Waltrip has departed for the broadcast booth. TV viewers have seen Hammond on SPEED's Race Hub show and live Nationwide Series qualifying and practice sessions. It's very clear that he has a lot more to offer than he is being allowed to show on FOX. Click here for a recent pre-race segment.
Perhaps, some of these Hollywood Hotel issues may sort themselves out when Myers and Hammond are put in charge of the live post-race show over on SPEED. Using the NASCAR on FOX pit reporters and pushing Bob Dillner from SPEED aside, Hill has challenged his NASCAR team to present what fans often miss. That is the aftermath of a race.
The stories do not end after the winner interview on live TV. That has been one of the biggest knocks on the new NASCAR TV package since it began in 2007. FOX, TNT and ABC provided very little post-race when getting to the next TV program was an issue. Click here to read about TNT's legendary early exit from MIS in 2007 for a vampire movie.
Hill has no problems trying new things on TV, even if fans may often disagree. Pushing a live post-race show to another network after a Sprint Cup Series race is an idea that may grow beyond just FOX. TNT has plenty of resources available after a race and may be watching to see just how things go after Dover. Viewers may remember that TNT and SPEED have worked together in the past.
As an added note, we expect to see more changes at SPEED next week starting with the expansion of Race Hub to one hour in length. That experiment should be fun to watch, as will the All-Star race and the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. All of them now being produced to Hill's wishes.
Some new things at SPEED have not worked out. Jimmy Spencer's What's the Deal show is gone, Fast Track to Fame is probably going to end shortly and the Monday edition of NASCAR in a Hurry is also off the schedule.
The big rumor is that major TV changes at SPEED will be unveiled next week when lots of media are in Charlotte for racing and the Hall of Fame ceremony. We know something is going to happen, because there are timeslots to be filled and a long way to go in this NASCAR season.
We will live blog the Sprint Cup Series race and the post-race show on SPEED. In the meantime, please feel free to leave us your comments on the topics mentioned above. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.