Sunday, January 16, 2011

Monday TV/Media Notes

It's a big week with lots of news and changes on NASCAR TV scene. Here are some topics of interest as teams get ready to head to Daytona for testing.

Click here for the link to the story on Ricky Craven in the Bangor Daily News. Craven has been slowly working his way up the ladder at ESPN and in 2011 he will be adding seven Nationwide Series races to his existing duties in the ESPN studios.

Craven has been the standout studio analyst for the network, patiently working in a wide variety of circumstances and with a wide variety of on-air talent. ESPN cements a valuable piece of the puzzle with this move. Craven gets a presence in the TV booth in addition to holding down the studio on weekends and appearing on the one-hour NASCAR Now show on Mondays.

ESPN spokesperson Andy Hall told me late last week that the network had no production announcements to make, so we are still awaiting official confirmation that Jamie Shiftan will be producing the network's race coverage. The only on-air personnel shift was Ray Evernham leaving ESPN after agreeing to work for Rick Hendrick.

Over at SPEED, things are popping. Two shows will not be returning for this season. NASCAR in a Hurry was a review show that appeared in an early morning timeslot with video updates of the weekend. Adam Alexander and Randy Pemberton were the hosts.

The second series cancelled was NASCAR Smarts. This show featured host John Roberts asking trivia questions to Kyle Petty, Rutledge Wood and a group of fans or special guests. It began as a part of the sponsorship package, but quickly got off-track and became half-hearted attempt at comedy late last season. Now, it's over.

Instead, SPEED will focus efforts on the NASCAR RaceDay pre-race show that absolutely needed a makeover. While the same on-air talent will be returning, look for substantive changes inside the program. The length will remain at two hours, although specials may extend the show.

Three veteran series will be returning. NASCAR Victory Lane, NASCAR Live and NASCAR Performance are popular shows that have clicked from the start. Originally produced in the field, NASCAR Performance was shifted to the studio in 2010.

This week, will be offering fully-produced long-form live video streaming of three days of Daytona testing. It will be a first for the network and should be interesting to watch online. Friday at noon ET, SPEED will also stream the widely anticipated "competition update" from Daytona. Mike Helton and Robin Pemberton will be explaining the new rules and changes for this season.

Monday should also bring official word from SPEED about a special series of TV programs related to the life and times of Dale Earnhardt Sr. on the tenth anniversary of his untimely passing. As usual, SPEED will be originating over one hundred hours of programming from Daytona. Check back for updates throughout the day.

We welcome 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. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


larry said...

Nascar smarts is if they would just get rid of the other fake "reality" shows and get back to the speed/speedchannel of old.

Anita said...

What Larry, you couldn't get any of the answers, lol... I **LOVED** NASCAR Smarts, it was fun, entertaining and tested your knowledge.
Do you think Ricky will get Ray's job, or might they might give Randy Lajoie another chance. I like Ricky & will miss Ray.

Roland said...

Any word on the racing chef? That show was one of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but none of the news in your article excite me. I am glad for Ricky Craven, but I do not see it having any effect on the poor coverage of nascar by espn. You swap Ricky for Ray and it’s a wash. I am even willing to say espn will be worse. Espn will give more “air” to the unprofessionals (Rusty, Brad, etc) this year than they did last year. In espn’s mind, it’s what the fans want.

Except for actual racing, I care for none of speed’s programs. Life style programs are not worth wasting my time on. And the other programs are either so full of DW, MW, and Kenny Wallace or nothing but softball reporting – no thanks.

So far this year, none of the announcements correct what causes me to get frustrated with watching nascar – especially nascars’s announcements. I am losing hope fast for this year. Again, sorry for being so negative. MC

Anonymous said...

Agree Anita! Loved NA$CAR Smarts! Yes they had some "easy" ones but there were a lot that were before my times so those were great to learn about :).

Vicky D said...

Craven's additional races is good news for us NW fans. Maybe ESPN will bite the bullet and get Randy LaJoie back in the booth or even on NN's Monday show. If there were going to be more changes in the booth or tv Nascar shows, it seems like there should have been more announcements before now. Anyway, good for Ricky!

earl06 said...

"Instead, SPEED will focus efforts on the NASCAR RaceDay pre-race show that absolutely needed a makeover. While the same on-air talent will be returning, look for substantive changes inside the program. The length will remain at two hours, although specials may extend the show."

JD, other than change the talent, what can be done to improve the show? New segments? A different set? I doubt that subtle changes will get folks back who have left in disgust.

Note to SPEED: Get rid of Kenny Wallace and I will give RaceDay a chance again with a clean slate.

OSBORNK said...

Sometimes, less is more. I think the declining ratings is due in part to overstaturation of all things NASCAR and the modern media. With various programs and NASCAR talking heads on the boob tube nearly every night, the actual race has lost it specialness. Once upon a time, we watched the race for the race but also to catch up on what was going on in the racing world. With modern communications, we now know almost everything immediately and when we attempt to actually watch the race, we can't because of poor broadcasts and agenda driven commentary.

The oversaturation is probably what the NASCAR fanatic desires but the average run of the mill fan that drives the ratings doesn't want the sport crammed down their throat.

Unknown said...

Glad to see Ricky Craven moving up. He does a good job on ESPN.

As for the changes at Speed, I wasn't all that impressed with NASCAR in a hurry. So Speed getting rid of that show is no loss. NASCAR Smarts was entertaining but it was comical at times.

As for NASCAR Raceday, I wish they would bring back Real Deal. That has always been one of my favorite segments.

The Mad Man said...

Reality-type shows and fluff-works are the quickest ways to chase off hard-core race fans and gearheads.

As Speed and BSPN don't bother to really listen to the fans, I expect this coming season's race coverage to be as bad if not worse than last season.

Anonymous said...

I wish they would replace Rusty with Ricky, at least Ricky can annunciate common words from the English language. Am I the only one that can't stand to listen to Rusty? He sounds like he has marbles in his mouth, all of the time.

KudzuCarl said...

Regarding SPEED's plans for Dale Sr. programming. I remember that Dale took Terry Bradshaw for a high speed ride around Daytona as part of the 2001 pre-race. The segment was fairly short. I'd love to see them go get that footage and put together a longer segment because I'm sure there was some interesting conversation that was left out the first time.

GinaV24 said...

Hooray! Ricky Craven in the booth - a man with a mind instead of the useless drivel of Wallace and Daugherty.

I watched NASCAR Smarts once -- that was plenty since IMO it was too stupid to bother with more than that.

It would be nice to hear good news about the production people for the races. Poor choices in that area have made trying to watch a race on TV a chore, not a joy.

Speed, like NASCAR, needs to get back to basics. Racing is why I started watching the channel, not a lot of stupid lifestyle programming.

GinaV24 said...

forgot to say - unless there is a complete makeover of RaceDay - as in someone kicks Kenny Wallace to the curb, I won't be watching.

for me, there is NO reason at all to tune in for 2 hrs beforehand to listen to "herman" tell me what I should think and then waste another half hour while DW or Herman's brother and Brad does the same in Fox/ESPN's pre-race.

Lou said...

Yes, I know JD,its late. But Happy New Year to all. I still read this wonderful blog everyday. Just do not have anything to add to the comments.

But I guess today I just want to say that I am glad/happy to see Mr.Craven more often and sad to see Ray leave.

Will not really miss nascar smarts, I did enjoy the questions though and could answer alot of the questions. It is just the show went sort of off the wall and was an embarrassment to watch.

At it pertains to nascar race day.
Well I will probably watch the first one or two shows. I did not watch except for maybe three racedays last season. So if changes are being made, then I better notice them in the first two or three races or I will nolonger watch that program as I did not watch prerace much last season.

As a motor/gear head, I do enjoy NASCAR Performance. It is always nice to learn something from something I already knew or atleast I thought I did. And NASCAR Performance talks to you and not at you. KW, make note of that last sentence. 2 u not @ u .

OSBORNK said...

Other than the actual race, I refuse to watch anything with either a Wallace or Waltrip in it. I don't want them to go away mad, I just want them to go away.

glenc1 said...

Gina, don't forget that Kenny 'knows everything and we don't', too. :) I think JD said earlier they expected no personnel changes, which is sad....

I have to confess...I did watch NASCAR Smarts just to see if I could answer the questions. They could have done it with a different format that would have made more sense. But then, I just like trivia.

I wish they would use Ricky even more than they are. And yes, I miss Randy. I think NASCAR In a Hurry could easily be a simple reporting segment on NASCAR live rather than a full show (like 'top news items of the week' or whatever.) Most of the people watching SPEED would already know what happened.

Zieke said...

Well said Gina. Race day will still be the same old BS without a change in "on air talent." When their audience gets to zero, maybe they will contemplate some changes.

Wisconsin Steve said...

Craven deserved a more significant promotion than 2 additional Nationwide races (compared to 2010). Its better than nothing, though!

Tracy D said...

Basically, underwhelming news. Like Craven. Hope he keeps it real.

silo1027 said...

sGreat to hear for Ricky! What does everyone think of the breaking news about the possible changes coming to the points system? I love it

Anonymous said...

I will miss NASCAR Smarts. I've been a fan since the 1980's, and I liked the education part of the show. It was wacky at times, but I think there is something to be said for education fans about the history of the sport. There are better ways to do it, sure, but at least this was something.

Sophia said...

Very underwhelming news.

RACEDAY needs to be cut down to an hour. Can't believe the ratings are that good & the cost for a 2 hour show have to be high.sigh.

Will miss Ray E on my tv BIG TIME. Huge loss.

Then again the thing that needs addressing the most continues to be ignored!! i.e. horrid camera work by FOX/BSPN. In car cam, roof cam, bumper cam, fender cam, zoom cams. Lather, rinse, repeat. How many times did we watch GREAT passes with in car cams with NO perspective?!

The real problems remains. :(

Anonymous said...

Management at ESPN must think everything has been fine. The only visible changes to their lineup were brought about by outside forces. The producer was fired when events in his private life became public. Ray Evernham left by choice to pursue other professional opportunities. I'm a fan of Ricky Craven the broadcaster, but his increased duties are marginal. The Craven/Evernham changes are a wash at best on overall quality.

I am forced to conclude that we will see more of the same ESPN coverage as last year, and they will wonder why ratings continue to fall. ESPN continues to try to drive a square peg into a round hole. And they think more of the same will produce success.

Ron said...

By no means is this 'breaking news'.....or anything to get overly excited about. Craven is good on TV, but certainly no savior for the low ratings. Some of his comments in the past have been so far out, it made me wonder which planet he was on.
Given that, I will take him over Jaws, Jaw's little brother, Phil "start and park" Parsons, Kenny Wallace, Kyle Petty....and the list goes on and on.
And jeez, just when I was hoping for the season to get started!