Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Free Showtime Preview Includes NASCAR

Wednesday at 10PM is the weekly original airing of Showtime's Inside NASCAR series. It's getting pretty good reviews from the folks who watch it. The very small number of folks who watch it.

Showtime is a premium cable TV network that uses monthly fees from subscribers to make ends meet. Recent changes in senior management brought some new sports series to Showtime. Inside the NFL and Inside NASCAR run back-to-back on Wednesday nights.

The current reach of Showtime is small. Only 17 million of the more than 85 million cable TV homes in the US subscribe to the service. The new thrust of the company is to offer original scripted entertainment series, often featuring familiar names in the title roles. Its seems many former TV and movie personalities have found that Showtime is a pretty nice day job.

All sports TV series have what is called "legs." That is the window in which a program can air. Inside NASCAR is a midweek talk show that can be repeated right up until the next green flag waves. It has "legs" until the next race.

To that end, there is an opportunity coming up for most fans to take a peek for free at what Showtime if offering. Here are the official details from the network:

This weekend, SHOWTIME will be available in a record 54.4 million households for an ALL ACCESS Free Preview Weekend on SHOWTIME, SHOWTIME HD and SHOWTIME On Demand. From Thursday, March 25 through Sunday, March 28, viewers across the country will have the opportunity to sample the premium network's award-winning programming via linear service, On Demand and in HD.

Basically, Showtime is throwing open the doors for a couple of days. Inside NASCAR re-airs in my local listings here in South Florida on Sunday morning at 9AM. You can check the local listings in your area using your on-screen program guide or websites like or AOL's TV site.

For those viewers whose cable service has a good offering of Video on Demand (VOD) channels, then Inside NASCAR should be available on the Showtime on Demand channel.

Chris Myers from FOX hosts the program with his panel consisting of Brad Daugherty, Michael Waltrip and Randy Pemberton. This is an interesting mix of personalities. ESPN fans may remember Myers as hosting a very successful afternoon interview show called Up Close in the 1990's.

Daugherty has struggled on ESPN as the network continues to keep him pinned in the Infield Pit Studio. He is not allowed to do interviews, never reports and his only features have been sponsor-driven. Inside NASCAR lets Daugherty speak-up and finally reveal some of his personality.

Michael Waltrip is not the star of this show. His goofy antics that help kill This Week in NASCAR on SPEED are not tolerated by Myers or the producers. On Inside NASCAR, Waltrip is asked to dress and behave like an adult.

Randy Pemberton is one of the best comeback stories in years. Overcoming personal adversity, Pemberton worked his way into a role on SPEED and has parlayed that hard work into a slot on Inside NASCAR. Pemberton goes all the way back on TV to Inside Winston Cup Racing on TNN. The host was Ned Jarrett and the other reporter working with Pemberton was a guy named Bill Weber.

I have very mixed feelings about Inside NASCAR. On one hand, it's great that Showtime paid the bill and the show is being produced. On the other hand, it's sad that so few people see it. Currently, there is no other option but to subscribe to Showtime to get the program.

Perhaps, having NASCAR fans view the series this weekend will get some momentum going toward creating a middle ground. It would be great to offer this one hour of content per week in some other way than just subscribing monthly to a network that offers a lot of adult-themed content. That is just not everyone's cup of tea.

Try to catch Inside NASCAR during this free preview weekend and we will discuss early next week how you liked it. The series also has a Facebook page and is on Twitter at @InsideNASCARSHO.

If you have already been watching the series, give us some comments and tips about what to expect. This should make for a fun weekend project. To add a comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to drop by The Daly Planet.