Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SPEED Names Patti Wheeler EVP Of Programming And Production


The changes at SPEED since FOX executive David Hill took over direct responsibility for the network have been ongoing. Today, Hill took his biggest step in naming veteran TV executive Patti Wheeler as Executive Vice President of Programming and Production. In essence, that hands day-to-day responsibility for the network to Wheeler.

Here is some information from the official SPEED media release:

“Beginning Nov. 1, Patti will take the lead in two crucial areas at SPEED,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “Program development is key to any network’s continuing evolution, and with our substantial commitment to a live network presence at all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events headlining a massive motor sports production schedule, bringing in someone with Patti’s credentials and experience strengthens the entire SPEED team.”

Wheeler, who has produced every major racing series for every broadcast and cable network that has ever done motor sports, started her career at age 22 as a producer/director of live NASCAR races. She later served as Director of Motorsports and Executive Producer for TNN. Prior to founding her own company, Wheeler Television, Inc., Wheeler was President of World Sports Enterprises, the leading motorsports television production company in the U.S.

A graduate of Belmont Abbey College, Wheeler lives in Charlotte with her husband, Leo Hindery, Jr., and their two teenagers. She has been named one of NASCAR’s Top 25 Most Powerful People by the Charlotte Observer and was included on the Charlotte Business Journal list of Top Forty Under Forty.


We often see management changes when a new executive is put in charge of a major property. Hill was frustrated over the years that SPEED was managed by executives at FOX's Cable Networks group. Now, Hill is fully in charge of the entire SPEED franchise and that should bring even more changes down the road.

Keep in mind that the original reason SPEED moved from Stamford, CT to Charlotte, NC was to become a fulltime NASCAR TV network. Those plans never worked and lots of things have changed since then. It should be interesting to see how this new addition to SPEED effects what NASCAR fans see at home.

I can take your comments and questions in the comments section below. Just click on the comments button, there is no sign-up or auth code. Just talking NASCAR TV.

22 comments:

MRM4 said...

I hope Wheeler can get the network to a place where PINKS and similar shows are not the only programs shown on weeknights. I also hope that other programming like replays of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will stay. Their production quality has really improved over the last couple of years.

glenc1 said...

The question is, will David let her do job and not interfere--we've seen his ideas and we're not impressed. If he does I see this as a very positive move.

I'd bet she can add some better NASCAR programming and less 'fluff'. No more talent contests. Maybe she'll bring back Tradin' Paint, lol.

longtimeracefan said...

Pretty good move for SPEED. I'd bet that Ms. Wheeler made it clear to Mr. Hill (and others in the room) that she would take the job only if she had enough freedom to do it her way. It will be interesting it see what Humpy's kid can do with the network. Here's hoping she kicks some youknowwhat.

Anitarace said...

As long as she keeps all NASCAR practices, qual., Performance, Smarts, Raceday, of course Truck, some specials as always, and love the idea of Tradin Paint & TWIN (This Week In NASCAR) with Kenny Schrader, Chad, Mikey, Booty Barker since Steve has Race Hub

Jonathan said...

I got an Ideal lets stop with all the junk Speed airs like past time and pinks if I want the Ill go watch NHRA! Lets make this the Nascar Network please! I for one would love to watch Nascar races from the past then some of the shows they have on now all! Broadcast some Nascar Canadian Tire Series races, heck even the Nascar Corona Series... I for one havent seen any of those races heck I remember Cascar being on Speed! I miss that

Anonymous said...

Great move, she obviously has the right bloodline, if she has ideas like her father this will be a big success.

AncientRacer said...

I hope she is given sufficient time to see through the plans she may have. Timeframes for success in the business are so short nowadays.

But just proving a company can react fast to the desires of its consumers when it wants to listen check out what the GAP undid today.

Is there any word leaking about the "Big Meeting"?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Not a peep from the media on the Nationwide Series meeting. They are mostly at a NASCAR Media Group screening of the upcoming Tim Richmond program for the "30 for 30" series.

Airs next Tuesday at 8PM on ESPN.

Wisconsin Steve said...

I can't wait for that Richmond documentary...I hope its as good as some of the other 30 for 30 shows.

The decision by Speed to appoint Ms. Wheeler to this position looks smart to me. Here's hoping she shows some family favoritism and gives her dad a show (THAT would be worth watching).

Anonymous said...

Maybe a new show will appear with Eli Gold and Buddy Baker.

Anonymous said...

hehehe...maybe Ned Jarrett & Stephanie Boyd Durner can come back....

red said...

it's about time someone who actually knows, understands and loves racing is put in charge of a network named "speed."

now get out of her way and let her do her job.

KoHoSo said...

I sure hope to see good things from Ms. Wheeler as she sounds like an excellent hire. I don't expect to like every show on Speed but I sure would like to be able to go back to watching it a lot more often like back in the days of SpeedVision.

S_Banerjee said...

I hope this is a good move. The fact that she was responsible for the TNN broadcasts which I liked very much, is a good sign. But then again, I remember thinking back when ESPN re-entered the sport in 2007 that it'd be like the old ESPN and it turned out to be the worst broadcaster of NASCAR in recent history. I just hope she can put more racing back on the network and less reality TV and talent shows.

Anonymous said...

I wish Patti the best, but I'll reserve judgement until I see the direction she takes Speed. Hopefully, the Nascar cooking shows and Nascar Smarts will be gone. Hopefully gone will be the practice of replaying the same interviews and race footage hundreds of times across every Nascar program. Hopefully,the Wallace and Waltrip clan will also fade away!

GinaV24 said...

Well her resume sure sounds good. Now I hope that she is able to make Speed be the place I turn to once more for motorsports.

RaceHub has been a big step forward and Steve is doing a great job as host.

I'd like to see Speed get back to less "lifestyle" programming and more racing -- racing in all its forms was the reason I used to turn to Speed -- I wish her well and hope that her experience will pay off for the race fans.

GinaV24 said...

I have got to remember to set the DVR for the Tim Richmond piece.

Looking forward to seeing it.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget who's still in charge. The one who said "tough".

It will ultimately be his vision not hers.

Marylee from Richmond said...

Glad to see that several of us realized that her credentials include "blood" as well as hard work and probably some tears over the years.
Ms. Wheeler, please bring back Tradin' Paint, something like TWIN, and something like the show that highlighted Nationwide-focused smaller teams. I can't remember the name of the old show about them, but it was fascinating, and now some of the people highlighted are at the Cup level.
We wish you well, Ms. Wheeler.

Anonymous said...

Hey Daily Planet, Does Patti's arrival mean the departure of Bob Ecker and staff?

Anonymous said...

Can only hope the change at the top will mean a change on the screen. Lord knows Speed is in a terrible mess programming wise and someone has to start cutting all the nonsense they are trying to sell. Hope she knows enough to get rid of people like Darrel Waltrip and Kenny Wallace right away and get some professionalism back into pre race and post race shows.All this crap like Pinks,Smarts and the like have to go.

FloridaMatt said...

Good Grief. DW's already saying "I'm a lock for next year". No, DW, it's still time to induct the prior generation.

BTW, I didn't watch the actual announcement, as watching DW being selected would have been as unenjoyable as watching KB win yet another nationwide race.