Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday TV Notes

The weekend featured a stellar TV special produced by an extraordinary amount of cooperation between many parties. NASCAR, SPEED, Hendrick Motorsports and others contributed interviews, footage and information to make SPEED's Haiti Earthquake Relief Special come together.

Rick Allen, Michael Waltrip and Jamie McMurray provided the studio portions. Allen set the right tone for the program and both McMurray and Waltrip contributed the NASCAR presence. Before the taping, McMurray took the photo above. The mix of content, information on donating to the Red Cross and limited commercial elements worked like a charm.

The special first aired on Sunday night up against the live NFL playoff game. On Monday night, it was scheduled to re-air at 8PM but someone at SPEED's network operations center did not get the message. After thirty minutes of Super Cars Exposed, the special did air completely beginning at 8:30PM.

For those of you who may have missed it, SPEED will be re-airing it again at 8AM ET on Tuesday morning. That's a good opportunity to record it for later viewing or to keep for a while. That one is going to be good to watch again. It's a great reality check.

The first JGR Countdown to Daytona program aired Sunday and proved to be a well-produced show offering the kind of casual behind-the-scenes content that perhaps the sport needs a lot more of this season. The highlight was JD Gibbs leading cameras on a walk through the JGR facility. There are three more of these one-hour programs to go. TDP has the complete NASCAR TV schedule on the right side of our main page.

Race Hub returned on Monday after an ill-timed absence last week right in the heart of the Charlotte Media Tour. Rick Allen and Randy Pemberton led guests Larry McReynolds and Jamie Reynolds through some polite talk about preseason topics.

McMurray is proving to be a thoughtful presence on TV. McReynolds is cleary accentuating the postives of everything happening in the sport as the build-up to Daytona begins. He has clearly chosen the cheerleader role so far this season.

SPEED toned down the new Monday Race Hub sponsor this week. Hooeters used to be a longtime friend to the sport. Last week, the hosts said "Hooters, it's more than a mouthful Monday" several times with big Hooters logos adorned on the set. No pun intended. This time, the off-camera voice-over announcer handled the sponsorship and the commercials that ran luckily contained more cheeseburgers than cheesecake.

Finally, HBO is set to air the first of four episodes of its 24/7 documentary series that focuses on Jimmie Johnson and his preparation for Daytona. Tuesday at 10PM the premium service rolls-out the first thirty minute show. It should be interesting to see what is included in the final product.

HBO is in about 38 million US homes serving primarily people who are entertainment oriented. Cable nets like SPEED, TNT and ESPN are more than double HBO's size. HBO Sports has been around for a very long time, but that division cancelled Inside the NFL a while back, which is how it got on Showtime. How many folks tune-in to see a documentary about a NASCAR driver on HBO should be interesting to find out.

One last note. The annual Toyota All-Star Showdown from Irwindale, CA will be the first taste of live NASCAR racing on Friday and Saturday night at 10PM ET. This is a wild event with NASCAR regional series all-stars combined with some "ringers." There are Late Models, Super Late Models and Camping World regional classes. Over 125 cars have been entered for this year's races.

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