Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday TV/Media Notes


Lots of items coming across the TDP desk this week. Here are a few:

ESPN held its annual pre-Sprint Cup Series coverage conference call. We already know it's Marty Reid, Dale Jarret and Andy Petree calling the races. Other than that, there were two very interesting points where TV is concerned. The first is how ESPN is reacting to criticism of post-race issues with the NASCAR TV partners.

Here is Julie Sobieski, ESPN's Programming VP speaking to that issue:

Question: Julie, there's been a lot of complaints this year by fans and others about the coverage from TNT and FOX. Does ESPN pay attention to that at all and do you adjust your broadcast accordingly?

Sobieski: We always pay attention to anything the fans have to say. If we feel that what they're talking about at any given point is relative to our coverage and things we can do better, we always learn from that.

One great example this year of something we've been hearing not just this year but in other years is that fans want a more in‑depth post race experience around the races.

And one of the opportunity that's these 14 races on ESPN affords us this year uniquely is that we'll be able to have SportsCenter, an expanded SportsCenter, on the back end of those ESPN races. And we'll be able to go back, as we would with most other major sports we have on our network, when SportsCenter is on the back end, to be able to go back to the track and do more in depth post race analysis. We're looking forward to that.

That is definitely in response not only to what we've heard from fans, but it is just an opportunity that we're able to provide on ESPN with the schedule and earlier start times as well.


Pretty good answer to that issue, use SportsCenter to host a post-race show. Here is the second topic, ESPN choosing to have it's own "expert" on every post-race show.

Question: Julie, you mentioned earlier about the post‑race show. Weren't you pretty much cutting into SportsCenter and doing the same things last year? Or what is more expanded that you're providing in regards to the post race program?

Sobieski: In some cases that's an hour and 90 minutes to close to three hours on the back end of these telecasts. Having that much time affords us the opportunity to consistently go back to the racetrack and spend time there. We have production that's been working on a list of several specific features and components that we expect to see across SportsCenter that fans can get used to. Carl Edwards being one of the components as a standing guest after each one of our ESPN telecasts.


That's right, starting this weekend in Indy it will be Carl Edwards as ESPN's post-race driver/analyst. You just can't make this stuff up.

Also this week SPEED informed us that Darrell Waltrip is indeed returning to the network as we suggested several weeks ago. Waltrip will replace Elliott Sadler on Trackside and will join John Roberts, Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace on the SPEED Stage for RaceDay this weekend in Indy.

FOX executive David Hill is now in charge of SPEED and it's pretty clear that DW is the man where Hill is concerned. Expect Waltrip's TV presence to continue and even grow as the season progresses.

Back in the studio, SPEED's Race Hub continues to offer some interesting guests. Wednesday, Jeff Gordon is featured. Thursday brings Penske Racing VP Tim Cindric to review the Gateway situation, which may include penalties announced on Wednesday. Also, truck series director Wayne Auton will be on to make an official announcement about the series.

If you are scheduling TV plans for this weekend, the entire NASCAR TV schedule is listed on the left side of the TDP main page. One show to note is a one-hour NASCAR Now special hosted by Allen Bestwick from Indy on Thursday at 5PM ET. Finally, the one hour Sunday night recap version of NASCAR Now also returns this weekend at 10PM ET.

If any additional information comes along, we will add it to this post. In the meantime, happy to have your comments on these topics. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.

53 comments:

51 yr. fan said...

It appears David Hill still does
not recognize that his product has
grown stale with the Waltrips and
Wallaces. We are tired of being
fed their narrow viewpoints and
sponsor predjudices. I hope everyone does like I have been doing and just refuse to watch.

Jojaye said...

Well I agree with 51yr.fan here too, we will not watch Trackside - We haven't watched since DW has been on all year (we watched the 1 or 2 times Elliot was on) I just can not understand why DW is back, ; ) maybe incriminating photos?
just sayin'

Jonathan said...

Its about time ESPN gives Nascar the respect it gives the "major sports" Nascar is one of the most watched sports in this Nation yet 80% who work for ESPN act like they dont know that. its such a shame when a NASCAR race is over and I go to ESPN.com and I see the top 3 or 4 stories (w big graphics and pictures) is nothing Nascar related! an example of this is after the race Saturday night at Gateway I went to ESPN.com and there wasnt a mention of the Nationwide race anywhere! Not the main 3 or 4 that get graphics and no not on the right hand side either. I had to click Nascar to find out about the race! My point is ESPN never ever ever gives Nascar any respect and its a shame. maybe this will change, last year the ratings on ESPN were pretty damn good and I expect the same this year. Nascar needs to advertise more often and ESPN does this when the Sprint Cup time rolls around aka NOW!!! I do see light at the end of the tunnel though w Nascar being in Transformers 3 thats a start! BTW I love TNT's coverage but honestly think it kills any momentum Nascar carries with the casual fan cause lets face it TNT isnt a major station. FOX and ESPN sure is and wish NBC never left! SOOO cant wait for this weekend ORP and INDY = AWSOME Glad to hear about Nascar and Sports Center

earl06 said...

Not good news for pre and post-race coverage.

DW is definitely a reason not to watch RaceDay, not that there aren't many others. David Hill should think about taking out a clean sheet of paper and figuring out what works rather than adding more repetitive diarrhea-of-the-mouth.

I am not interested in watching Sportcenter, ever. Putting the post-race mixed in with Tiger/NFL/LeBron/hype is a real bummer.

GinaV24 said...

Amen, 51yrfan - Wow, more Waltrip and Kenny Wallace too - be still my heart. I'm done watching Trackside and Raceday programming for the season. I'm sure that David Hill's reaction to the fact that the fans are almost universally tired of DW's yap yap yap would be "tough". Hope he enjoys the low ratings.

Carl Edwards will be the guest analyst on SportsCenter! Will he get any real questions or just softballs? I'm not interested in hearing what Edwards has to say after that despicable display at Gateway last weekend.

It's nice that ESPN plans to do extended post-race coverage but is SportsCenter the answer? Since I never watch ESPN programming except for the races, I'm probably not the one to ask but what little I've seen of SportsCenter always is just talking heads and highlights.

Donna in FL said...

The only people I know who are happy about "DW: The Return" are my kids. They just love the guy, for some unknown reason. He was never even one of my fave drivers!

Add this announcement to the list of reasons why nothing will happen from NASCAR regarding Carl Edwards. And if they surprise me & do something, loving the embarrassment ESPN will be feeling unless they pick something else. I'm not happy he was chosen, I certainly don't think he represents well as an active driver analyst.

51 yr. fan said...

I agree GinaV24. Who wants to
hear what "cheapshot" Carl has to
say. His opions are expressed
in his actions which have left
me with a bad taste for him; and
NA$CAR for not addressing it.

Anthony said...

The SportsCenter coverage is all fine and well, but I just don't understand why ESPN (or the other two networks) can't schedule a 30-minute "Sprint Cup Post-Race Show" after each block of race coverage.

If SportsCenter actually dedicates the first portion of their program to at-track coverage, I'll be happy (as long as said coverage is good). Otherwise, I'm not convinced this is the answer.

On the bright side, 14 of the last 17 are specifically on ESPN, not ABC, so we will not be changing channels because Funniest Home Videos has to be on or something.

Anonymous said...

I will believe it when I see it from ESPN.

Last year, they said they would show all of the post race interviews on ESPNNews, and they did for about two weeks and then would show them sometimes, but usually once football starts they would not show anything.

They have a long way to go before I trust them with this kind of announcement.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to sound cynical,but am I to understand that I have to watch 60 to 90 minutes of stick&ball sports on SportsCenter to see/hear a few crumbs of Nascar post race coverage? Race Day/Tracksid/Victory Lane have become unbearable with the Wallace/Waltrip/Petty baloney. To add insult to injury,Race Hub regurgitates a lot of the footage and interviews. Sorry...

Vicky D said...

Anon at 9:50 I have the same feelings. I will not stick around watching Sportscenter for 90 minutes and wait for some crumbs of interviews after the race. Also, I think Carl is on damage control and this is a way to show the fans that he's a good and supersmart guy and knows a lot about racing. And that's another reason not to watch that show after his shenanigans on Saturday night. They should get someone else or maybe have a different driver do it every week. Doesn't look promising to me.

GinaV24 said...

Anon 9:50 -- OK, good you and Vicky D answered my question on post-race on SC. I've tried watching SC and like you guys, I'm not interested in wasting time for the interview to come up. Maybe I'll set the DVR to record and FF, but then again, maybe I'll just catch it on the internet LATER.

Vicky IMO its too late for Edwards to do damage control -- if anyone should be drug tested on a random basis, it should be him. I don't plan to watch ANY show that he is on.

NASCAR/ESPN won't get an uptick on their ratings from me.

allisong said...
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allisong said...

Wow, you're really full of good news today, aren't you. *sarcasm*.

1. Edwards on ESPN: I wonder how many people will NOT watch vs. how many will.

2. DW on SPEED: I'll say again, FOXSports is just trying to keep DW's profile up while the HOF fan voting is still going on.

3. Possible penalties: Don't hold your breath. Despite what Randy P. said on RaceHub, if anything comes of this, I will be greatly surprised.

David said...

What the hell?! Waltrip overload needs to stop!!!!

The guy isn't horrible to be honest, unfortunately like Kenny Wallace and Spencer, DW is playing a character on SPEED and it downright PEEVES me off!

Rutledge too. Just let these people be themselves, have someone to keep the egos in check then it wouldn't bother me so much. I feel bad for Roberts, between DW and Kenny Wallace that gray hair is only going to get worse if it doesn't all fall out by season's end!

Vicky D said...

Gina, you are correct on having more "random" drug tests on the drivers. And then Nascar tests a guy who was going to spot one of the NW races and suspends but won't do anything to a driver who intentionally dumped another driver and caused a whole lot of carnage to so many teams not to mention what he did in Atlanta. Somebody could have been killed. This all doeesn't make sense to me.
I guess everyone has seen JP's interview with Bob Keselowski, have you noticed the look of horror on JP's face. He knows what could happen to a driver hitting the wrong way and I don't think he liked what CE did at all.

Anonymous said...

I have lost all respect for Carl Edwards. Forgetting for the moment all the Carl/Brad bad blood incidents, what he did Saturday night taking out cars of drivers who don't have the deep pockets of Carl's team. It just is so wrong if Nascar doesn't severely penalize Carl because it was not a "racing deal." It was intentional in his own words.

Do you know if Carl was hired by ESPN before or after Saturday's incident?

FloridaMatt said...

Oh, my. Looks like double-negative day. More DW? All the more reason to skip watching Trackside and RaceDay. And ESPN thinks I'll sit through a long stretch of SportsCenter waiting until the few bits of post-race coverage they bother with between "real" sports? That's not going to happen.

robbiejr said...

While I'm glad they'll devote more time to post-race coverage on SportsCenter, I'm not sure how excited I can get about it. What we'll see is interviews from the track mixed in with stick and ball segments, which I don't care about when I'm trying to watch racing coverage.

Buschseries61 said...

Why does the extended post race have to be shown as SportsCenter rather than continue the normal race coverage? Why bother with Carl Edwards when there are 6 analysts (Jarrett, Petree, Wallace, Evernham, Brewer, Brad D) and 4 reporters at the track already? This should not be complicated at all.

I guess Elliot did not create a character, so David Hill has to rely on second-string DW. No character = no SPEED/FOX tv time.

Anonymous said...
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tiamatsrevenge said...

I like DW / Herman / Mikey ... Don't like Brad Daugherty ... Rutledge is a meh ...

Carl on Sports Center ... Oy vey! So, ESPN goes from the egocentric LeBron James to the psychopathic / sociopathic Cousin Carl ... Count me OUT! I don't watch Sports Center as it is, but knowing that Carl's gonna be on there is gonna make my remote work faster ...


Whoever is doing the Tim Cindric interview should really push for how Penske Racing feels about having lost FIVE cars because of Carl's MPD problems ... Carl's had 3 run-ins with Brad's car / 1 with Kurt's / 1 with Lil Gator's ... It won't surprise me, but it'll infuriate me even more, if the idiot Carl decides to wreck Sammy's car ...

Btw - I'm not thrilled by Danielle's performance so far ...


Good ol' Cousin Carl reminds me a LOT of Ted Bundy ...

Anonymous said...

Even DW knows some people find DW annoying. I used to think he was good (well...he was better than he is now.) But I am so over that and tired of his schtick (as well as his brother's). On Trackside it's bearable, on Raceday...well, I hardly watch that any more anyway since Kenny feels compelled to talk down to the fans all the time.

Danielle has done a pretty solid job on RH, imo, and I wasn't expecting much; a pleasant surprise.

...let's not forget how many cars BK has wrecked, particularly in NW--not a one way street, although I'm not a fan of Carl's either.

Anonymous said...
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nemisis said...

If ESPN,Speed, whoever actually gave a hoot about the fans and TV ratings, they might take a long hard look at where the Waltrips fit in with the fans. I love the truck races but after following NASCAR since 63 I've had enough. Anywhere a Waltrip sits with a mic, I won't be listening another day. Racing is second to their constant blathering and enough is enough. When you have Craven, Evernham, one or two others, that can replace them, why cause so much upheaval among the fans with either of the Waltrips, Rusty, Brad, I've even gotten to the point where Spencer and Kenny do more to take away any enjoyment a show might give. Why in hell does anyone think Mike Joy, Ned Jarrett, Benny Parsons, were so revered? There is more competition for air time between the announcers than on the track. You can't claim to present a professional product if you don't present professional people. Especially if you are so ego ridden you can't hear and see your own product. Another core fan dissatisfied.

Richard in N.C. said...

Is it just me or is there some real inconsistency in L'EESPN's fascination with the 19 to 34 demographic and having its Cup announcers dressed like morticians?

Anonymous said...

Thumbs up-DW I used to not like DW so much, all I used to get from him was "back in the day, this...", "back in the day, that...". But the more I watch him recently I think he is pretty entertaining, somewhat funny, and knowledgable. Never thought I'd ever write that...

Thumbs down-Sportscenter post race
Thumbs down-Trotta on RH
Thumbs down-Carl Edwards

GinaV24 said...

vickyD, no I didn't see JP's interview -- I'll have to see if I can find it on the web, I'm sure its out there, but I can just imagine his expression. A good kind man - he probably couldn't believe his eyes.

I know that NASCAR isn't going to penalize Edwards - they are eating up all this free publicity and ESPN is probably happy too! Stay tuned, folks, for the next episode of wreck'em racers. Geez and it wasn't too long ago that Brian France was worried about Nascar's "image". How do you like me now?

Tracy D said...

Edwards on ESPN = Extra Stupid & Pretty Negative publicity for ESPN.

I can't stand the guy now. Won't watch anything he's involved in.

Matito said...

Seriously? Carl Edwards as a post-race analyst is absurd. Having a driver who was just in the race they covered talking about the race and analyzing it is no better than having team owners such as Rusty Wallace, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip in the booth during the race. Not once will you hear any of them say anything critical of their own teams or say anything that could possibly harm their teams' reputation and ability to compete fairly.

This would be like if, after a long day of NFL games, ESPN brought in Tom Brady and asked him to analyze the I-formation that the Colts used.

If ESPN really wants a current driver's point of view, go talk to Brian Vickers. He is incredibly well-spoken, knows the ins and outs of the cars, even with the new addition of the spoiler (something none of the ESPN analysts have), and is free for the remainder of the season.

51 yr. fan said...

NA$CAR loses more integrity. The
"penalty" for Carl is 60 points
and the difference in finishing
postions (1 &14) was 59 at
Gateway. Thats not a penalty.
It justs puts them back to their
pre-race points difference. I'm
waiting on NN and Race Hub to
gloss this over.

Anonymous said...

More DW, My question is why does this David Hill guy ignore what more and more fans are asking for.Many years ago I actually used to like both Waltrip brothers, but lately I cannot stand to watch them.I'm old, lifelong fan with many of my friends being fans also, and 98% of them feel like I do and won't watch if a Waltrip is on.And yet this guy Hill ignores the fans and puts the Waltrips on even more, evidently he's as arrogant as the Waltrip brothers and ignores the fans more than any other network.Good luck Mr. Hill, if you think people like myself will fold and watch even if a a Waltrip is on is the wrong strategy. I dislike so much about their on air persona I will never change and know many others who agree with me.Actually having them on has helped me, last week when the truck race was on I shut off the TV and painted a ceiling in a bedroom. Keep them on Mr. Hill, my house will be better off for it!!

RJ_Number8 said...

"You can't claim to present a professional product if you don't present professional people."

BRAVO!

Daly Planet Editor said...

You remember Digger?

RJ_Number8 said...

You said the D word.
I seriously think Fox would like that whole Digger cartoon experiment to be forgotten....

Anonymous said...

Will not be watching anything DW or Edwards is on. ESPN already has some of the most yuk commercials promoting Sports Center, why would I want to watch more of the same? So more lost viewers for Raceday, Trackside and Sports Center according to the comments here. Each channel has it's own agenda and thinks everyone should like what they like rather than doing honest surveys to see what the fans really want to watch. But then, integrity is gone from Nascar now so why wouldn't we expect the same from these shows?

GA Red

Darcie said...

Edwards as a post-race commentator? Give me a break-----unless he's involved in more race dust-ups with other racers. Oh, that can't happen since old Carl got slapped with 60 driver's points, a fine and probation. What does ESPN see in that guy? I don't want Jekyll and Hyde on my tv. But what can you expect from a network who hires the likes of Jenn Browne, of Bikini Destinations fame to be the sideline reporter for Thursday Night Football. Yeah, just what the viewers need is another blond bimbo who was hired for her big fake ones and "a real knowledge of sports". Sheesh.

As for Speed, does the Waltrip family own controlling interest in the channel? Either that or DW has the goods on David Hill. There can be no other reason for the Waltrip overload. I stopped watching Trackside last year because I could not stand DW and I stopped watching Raceday because of the blowhards.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, NO to CE and DW... Just barely tolerate Kenny!!! NO, to Rusty!! Expand on DJ and Andy!!! You DID say ESPN is listening????
RIGHT???? NOT SURE!!!.........

Anonymous said...

Carl Edwards? seriously, give the fans (the majority) what they want, DALE JR!!! Most dale jr fans who dont even watch sportscenter would keep watching to see dale jr's analysis of the race. ESPN has seemed to be in love with Carl Edwards since they came back with coverage.

Richard in N.C. said...

Looks can be deceiving. Despite Madden's reputation in the media, the ratings for Monday Night F-ball continually went down the last few years it was on ABC - so of course the brain trust at what passes for NBC Sports picked up Madden and Michaels for its Sunday night football.

I happen to still enjoy DW and the FOX crew - but 51 yr. fan's statement that "product has grown stale" may have hit the bulls-eye.

Week to week I do think DW demonstrates that he is far more knowledgeable, well-connected, and a better writer than many so-called journalists.

Richard in N.C. said...
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Ken said...

I have a simple way of deciding what I watch, If a Waltrip or Wallace is present and talking,I don't watch.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Dot said...

Carl Edwards? Under the circumstances, I'm surprised he was tapped for the job as race expert. Wreck Kez on purpose expert is more like it. I will not watch anything he is on.

I am glad that at least BSPN sees the importance of post race coverage. Finally! Now, if we can get them to get rid of the excessive bumper/view from the backseat cams. XX

To 51 yr fan & GinaV24, Kenny Wallace will be on TV even more once he quits driving. That decision is on the horizon.

Dot said...

I posted before reading all the comments. Now I found out I was redundant. I agree with a lot more of you. Especially the SC post race coverage. Won't it be football season soon? So much for our own coverage. :(

Anonymous said...
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jone1981 said...

Carl Edwards weaseling his way into being front and center for ESPN is my worst nightmare and precisely consistent for the reason he has been amongst my least favorite driver for years since bullying Matt Kenseth on live TV: he's popular with the talking heads.

Admitedly, he's well spoken, intelligent and has a great face for TV. Compared to Kyle Busch or Keselowski he's smoother and has better looks. Unfortunately this has directly contributed to the media, I believe, skewing and helping to skew popular opinion against drivers like Busch and towards Edwards.

While this could be a good opportunity to directly interact with Edwards over his bully tactics on and off the track, NASCAR media, and NASCAR as a whole, being so incestuous as it is, I doubt you will ever, ever get anything but softballs being lobbed to Edwards.

At worst he's just going to use this platform to propagandize why else would he be up there. He knows it's easier to keep a good reputation by smiling for the cameras than being a good guy in real life.

Dont believe the hype - Edwards is a bully! It doesnt matter what he did to Keselowski this year, he has always been the most disingenuous driver in the garage.

jone1981 said...

ESPN should fail instantly for having Jamie Little on the telecast. I was surprised by her generic, cliched analaysis from pit road. The way she delivered her lines - the vocabulary and phrasing - seemed to indicate while she knew the NASCAR vocabulary and reported properly on what she was told to, she didn't actually have an understanding of the things she was saying. Even simple stuff like the loose-tight corrections and different tire strategies, based on how she phrased her words, showed a lack of any concept of what was really going on beyond "what adjustments did they make."

Anyway, I looked her up and am shocked at her background. It's disappointing someone with such little experience, and clearly with such little understanding, gets such a coveted job.

GinaV24 said...

oh Dot, gag me with a spoon! That's ALL NASCAR fans need - more Kenny Wallace on TV doing analysis. If this weren't a family friendly site, I'd have more explicit comments but I'll stick to "analyze this" and you can all infer my meaning! LOL

I used to like him when he was on IWC once in a while, but again, the TV people seem to think that if a little is good a lot will be even better.

"listen up, race fans" and waltrip overload has equated to me never even turning raceday on - I think I watched the show from Daytona this year in February.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, it would appear to me that L'EESPN now has a comflict of interest with Carl E. similar to, but not as egregious as, the conflict TNT had using the King of the S&P'ers as a pit road reporter - but it's not the first time for such conflicts at L'EESPN.

David said...

To be fair ESPN may have tabbed Carl several weeks ago and are committed to having him involved. It would be nice if they were to make a shift away to a different driver in coming weeks. I guess since Elliott Sadler is out of a gig that would be a great option...

Anonymous said...

I don't know where this guy David Hill came from but he sure does'nt keep up to speed with all that is going on in tv racing land if he thinks DW is the man. Does he really not see how unpopular DW is with the racing fans? Unbelievable.