Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Preliminary TV Overview For 2012

The last big TV change was Allen Bestwick stepping-in to take over the Sprint Cup Series races for ESPN only days before the coverage started. Tuesday, there was another item involving on-air personalities that caught our attention.

This tweet from SPEED's Hermie Sadler shortly before noon: "Bittersweet week for me as I prepare to do my last @racedayonspeed show this Sunday. Been a hell of a lot of fun."

In response, Kyle Petty offered: "You are still the man." Other TV production personalities echoed Petty's comment. It would seem that Sadler is indeed done with RaceDay for good.

Sadler has been working as a reporter on the series alongside Wendy Venturini for quite a while. Like Venturini, Sadler works well in the garage area. His past racing experience and easygoing personality allow him to maneuver through the tangled web of PR reps and high-profile personalities in the Sprint Cup Series.

SPEED also uses Sadler as a pit reporter on the truck series, a field reporter for NASCAR Live and in the TV booth for Nationwide Series practice and qualifying shows. It will be interesting to learn if Sadler is done just on RaceDay or across the board with SPEED.

As the final weekend of racing approaches, let's take a look at some of the things we know about the 2012 line-ups for the NASCAR TV partners in talent and programming.

FOX informed us a while back that Jeff Hammond was out of the Hollywood Hotel next season and driver and current multi-car owner Michael Waltrip was in. Hammond is moving to a "roving reporter" role says the network.

Both Waltrip brothers will become centerpieces in the NASCAR on FOX telecasts. This change resulted from the Waltrips working together on several NASCAR races carried on SPEED earlier in the year. Network execs apparently liked what they saw.

The rest of the NASCAR on FOX team should stay intact. This crew has been around a long time and the personalities and their roles are well defined.

TNT lost infield host Lindsay Czarniak, who moved to ESPN as a studio anchor after the summer race telecasts. The network still needs to fill that position, but the remainder of the crew including pit road newcomer Chris Neville should return.

It should be very interesting to see what ESPN does with Marty Reid. After being moved off the Sprint Cup Series races, Reid was left with the Nationwide Series and a handful of IndyCar races. When ESPN cranks back up for year six, it will probably be Bestwick in the TV booth at Daytona. Reid has a long history in both IndyCar and the NHRA. We should know how this issue shakes out after Christmas.

While the core of ESPN's team is set to return, the odd twist is Carl Edwards. Next season Edwards is rumored to be hanging-up his driving shoes on the Nationwide Series side and joining ESPN fulltime to work on the telecasts. His current owner Jack Roush let that cat out of the bag a while back.

As a driver, Edwards would be looking at two familiar faces already in place. Dale Jarrett currently works in the TV booth and Rusty Wallace in the infield studio. Wallace has been re-signed through 2014 and Jarrett is the face of NASCAR on ESPN. In fact, Wallace left the booth to make way for Jarrett several years ago. What slot Edwards might fill will not be disclosed until after Jan. 1.

The heart of SPEED's Camping World Truck Series team is poised to return. Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Ray Dunlap have been the face of the series for years. Sadler was one of the pit reporters and Waltrip was the third man in the booth. We should know next week if Sadler's RaceDay departure and Waltrip's Hollywood Hotel deal will change things for 2012.

One rumor swirling right now is that NASCAR Now has been cancelled by ESPN. As most fans know, the show was moved from 5PM back to 3PM and the only re-air was cancelled a couple of months ago. ESPN2 has a new afternoon line-up and NASCAR was pushed to the back burner.

Nicole Briscoe lives in the Charlotte area and commutes to Bristol, CT for her hosting duties. Mike Massaro relocated to Connecticut fulltime and Monday show host Allen Bestwick continues to reside in his beloved Rhode Island. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

ESPN has a significant number of reporters and analysts who rely on this series for employment. The show is on six days a week and during the Chase races adds a one-hour wrap up show as well. The loss of this series due to basically logistical on-air issues would be tough for the sport.

Update: Thursday late afternoon ESPN advised that NASCAR Now will be returning for 2012 as a daily show with the same staff. Time of the series airing is not yet known. Good news for NASCAR fans, just need a better timeslot!

Even though SPEED moved RaceHub to 6PM, the network loves the show. Steve Byrnes and Danielle Trotta originate an hour of NASCAR-themed content Monday through Thursday. Almost all of the SPEED and FOX analysts appear and the series is dream for promotion of the network's agenda. Expect that lead duo to return.

It's been a grand experiment seeing Jimmy Spencer in his role as on-air curmudgeon. His RaceHub antics include the awarding of cigars and straight-jackets. His "Kurt Busch Radio Sweetheart" segment is hilarious. The question is, does the new production management team at SPEED feel the same way.

There is no information out about the return of Inside NASCAR on Showtime. This series is said to be under contract for another season, but the show has shrunk to thirty minutes and seems to be all about promoting the profanity on the team radios.

On a non-TV note, veteran reporter Dustin Long of the Landmark Newspaper chain is ending his role as a NASCAR beat writer after this weekend. Long is a past president of the National Motorsports Press Association and has been helpful with our efforts here for years. His company is eliminating his position. We wish him well and hope his next assignment is a great one.

There has been a lot of breaking news this week. Should any new information become available on additional on-air changes, we will update this post.

In the meantime, please feel free to offer your opinions on the personalities and programs listed above. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


scarletandmaize said...

Not that we need it, but canceling NASCAR Now would be the latest reason ESPN should not be allowed to televise NASCAR ever again.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get to watch we know why Hermie is done with RaceDay? Will he be staying on as a parttime commentator or pit reporter I hope!?!?!?

Buschseries61 said...

Hopefully SPEED keeps Sadler for the Trucks, he did a good job replacing AA. The whole Truck series team continues to get the job done season after season despite the wild peaks and valleys the series has gone through since 2009.

Do you think the Trackside girl they hired is moving up to RaceDay? That would really be a horrible decision.

Jeff Hammond's role next season appears to be as useless as Tim Brewer based off the information we have so far. The garage area has been really quiet most of the season. I bet if the garage is quiet, he will be pointing at car parts.

AA needs to step it up on TNT next season. He hasn't really impressed and ended this season on an awkward thud with his goodbye speech.

The Edwards story has been interesting. It's the elephant in the room as Carl appears on ESPN week after week. Roush's comments from the summer are just ignored by ESPN as if nothing was said. Edwards is treated like a regular employee without the official title.

I really hope Dustin Long ends up somewhere. His weekly fan council was always an interesting read.

Anonymous said...

News Corp should've hired Lindsay Czarniak ... Put her on SPEED ...

Dump Trotta and Marianella (or however you spell her name) ...

I don't watch Race Hub like I used to because I cannot stand Trotta & her lame softball questions ...

I've completely STOPPED watching Trackside because of that lame Marinella ... She adds NOTHING to the show ... IF people want to see what the drivers are tweeting, they can google it ...

It's a shame that Patti Wheeler and George Bodenheimer are screwing over the NASCAR fans ... apparently, with Brian France's full support ... Can we impeach Brian?????

Btw - Miss Non-Monica Sprint Cup screwed up today when she said Sammy had not tweeted since January of LAST YEAR ... Sammy's last tweet was from November of 2010 ... NOT January 2010 ... Geez, WHY is Monica leaving us??

Dot said...

Sure, SPEED can get rid of Hermie, yet BSPN keeps Rusty & Brad.

nascar now being cancelled is no surprise. The way BSPN plays time slot roulette with it, no one can find it to watch it or record it anyway.

I agree with what scarletandmaize wrote, "ESPN should not be allowed to televise NASCAR ever again." 2014 can't get here fast enough.

Matt said...

You know, the worst part of this story is that there is no mention of John Roberts. RaceDay would do well to flush that guy and his tired, heavily scripted segues. I can't watch when I know they're going to commercial because he's just going to say something that gets on my nerves.

Shannon Spake seemed to have had her Nascar role diminished this year after returning from pregnancy. Will she continue to transition into other ESPN event roles as we saw this past year or can we expect her to come back to Nascar full-time in 2012?

Steve L. said...

Being a member of the National Motorsports Press Association myself, I hate that Dustin has to make such a change at this time. I know how hard it is to try to find any paying media jobs anymore in this sport. The 'Super Internet Highway' has hurt so many jobs, especially the print media. Good luck Dustin, I hope you fall into a great job soon, you deserve it.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to watch Race Day, but when I did, Herme and Wendy were the only ones I had any use for. I will NOT watch the two Waltrips. The only Nascar Now show I used to watch was the Monday show. When they switched times, I stopped completely. Hammond and Krista hosted a practice session a few weeks ago. Hammond was terrible. He was putting me to sleep with the way he was trying to form his thoughts. I won't watch Crusty,Nicole and Brad. Reid and Brewer are two more that should go. You can see that I've really cut back on my Nascar viewing time. At times, Spencer used to drive me crazy on Race Day/Victory Lane, but I never miss him on the Hub Tuesday nights. Often, he gives you the straight story with audio/video to back up his claims. He's like a breath of fresh air and is very funny. Kinda depressing isn't it?

Roland said...

I guess the Hermie move is logistical. That is if he stays at Speed. He was on TV every weekend this year and him being a family man and a business owner, I could see why he would want to cut it back a bit.

You know how I feel about Mikey on Fox. I agree with Buschseries61, the Hammond gig sounds useless.

I would hope Marty Reid is reassigned away from Nascar. But that creates a problem, who would be the backup. AB cant be everywhere all the time. Vince Welch was an epic fail. Dave Burns isnt cut out for play by play. Im actually not opposed to having different crews for Nationwide and Cup.

Speed needs some more people to handle practices and stuff. Here down the stretch John Roberts has been the pxp person for practices. Hes not really cut out for that. I thought Leigh Diffey did a great job at The Glen earlier this year, but I hear hes leaving.

I think eventually when Larry Mac gets fired from Fox for his last name not being Waltrip, he would be a great addition to Raceday and Victory Lane. I like Kenny Wallace as a driver and a person, but Im tired of him yelling at us.

Speaking of yelling I watched Speed Center recently for the first time since February. Much improved. The set and graphics are very cutting edge, and Adam has cut down on the yelling. Adding Ray Evernham was great. Much improved show.

Once again we go into another season of the same stuff from the same people on the same networks. Woo Hoo.

Dan Laycock said...

The Showtime show is the only reason I buy Showtime. Soon to drop it. The cussing gives the drivers and teams a REAL feeling. Normally they walk the NASCAR line and talk proper. I even kinda of like Jimmy & Chad since I saw they are real people.

Paige said...

I guess FOX doesn't realize that I cringe throughout their races at the beginning of the season. I can't stand the Wal-TRAPS. They're super annoying and NOT funny.

A shame NASCAR Now has likely been cancelled. It's been good. But we all know ESPN's least liked sports programming is auto racing in general. If something happens it's more than likely NHRA, NASCAR, or INDYCAR will be preempted for some sport with a ball.

As for Carl in the ESPN booth for Nationwide races - YAWN! I'm so sick of him and the obvious obsession they have with him.

TEX said...

IF I were in charge...

Here's my wish list.

IMO Andy Petree and Vince Welch are the best guys over at ESPN doing their broadcast.

They outta get Marty Smith in there somehow. He has a great relationship with everyone in the sport and I think he could excell in a role on pit road.

Ryan McGeee is great as well. He's a guy you could easily put in the race day countdown role right along side Nicole.

The rest of the ESPN team could all go...

You may laugh at this one but I believe Mike Bagley of MRN/Sirius Would be a great PXP guy. He's energetic and he's a regular guy like us race fans. He makes great points and is very educated in this sport.

Put Him in the booth with Petree and Jarrett and watch the energy and experience rise ot the top.

Your thoughts?

GinaV24 said...

sorry about Hermie, he seems like a good guy and has been a decent reporter - of course I don't watch raceday all that much - it is too long and too silly for me.

It's also a shame if they are going to cancel NascarNow - it became a very good show. ESPN obviously has no interest in NASCAR programming, I hope they don't bid on the new TV contract - they are a waste of space.

I have absolutely zero interest in having crazy carl in the booth. He may be ESPN's dreamboat but ESPN seems to be committed to their conflict of interest scenario with Rusty, Brad and adding an active driver to the booth.

Two Waltrips in the booth - gag me with a spoon. I will definitely be keeping the TV on mute and will get my audio coverage via radio. There is no value added for me in that scenario.

MRM4 said...

I like Hermie Sadler's work. I hope they keep him around.

matriarch said...

Why on earth does Speed keep firing the good people and bringing on board the bad. Hermie is one of the good guys. Get rid of KP, JS, KW, and the soon to be MW. They would do well to listen to the fans. Maybe they will when fans decide watching Speed is something they can do without. It just goes from bad to worse.

Bill said...

Poor Jeff Hammond has a speech impediment, and that hurts him, especially now with the FOX brass trying to slicken and polish up everything under their control.

You have to give Jamie Little (and Spake, for that matter) an "A" for effort, as neither women knew anything about NASCAR when they started.

Jamie's attempts at getting crew chief's thoughts after pit stops has been a great idea, but you can see a slight disdain from the crew chief as she ascends the pit box.

However, when Petree, who garners immense respect in the garage area, interviews the crew chief, it's a far more open and receptive attitude. Now, if Hermie was the one climbing the pit box, I think we'd get more of the same as with Petree.

Nothing at all against these women, and I'm glad they are breaking these barriers and the garage area is slowly coming around. But, if the reporter, male or female, is clueless, then any respect is lost. Spake's scripted question to Stewart after the Phoenix race seriously damaged the small amount of credibility she has worked so hard to gain, all due to some ESPN clod who knows nothing of this sport, spoon-feeding her these questions.

Thus far, Wendy Venturini is the most effective female NASCAR reporter, as her family is a household name in the garage area. Plus, she's darn good at her job.

I've always been a fan of Nicole Manske-Briscoe, but then I'm a male, and she's a beautiful female. But, her skills have dramatically improved over the past two years as well, and having a racecar driver husband probably doesn't hurt either. Her ability to keep Rusty and Brad in line is not only impressive, but hilarious.

It's looking more and more like NASCAR could be one of the first major US sports to be heading to online event broadcasts. It wouldn't surprise me to see half the races only available on the internet, with TV only covering the major races. Hell, if they can't get the Chase on broadcast TV, then something is amiss.

Oh, and while I'm at it: the Chase needs serious revamping, and has since the beginning.
Driver's meeting: Helton tells the drivers not to tangle with Chasers (Vickers must have missed that one), and on Sunday, you will have 41 drivers doing everything in their power to avoid the final two.

That's ridiculous! I am so glad a non-Chaser won this past race, but why do you think both Carl and Tony have led so many laps since Martinsville? The rest of the drivers are too afraid that Sheriff Mike will put them in jail if they tangle with the championship leaders!

Hence, racing has all but stopped while this is going on. Homestead ought to be a real joke.

Dennis said...

I really enjoy Hermie. I enjoy his interviews and he's a very likable person. We need more guys like Hermie, not fewer.

If you haven't had the chance, I'd invite you to have a look at his bio on Wiki.

glenc1 said...

I hestitate to comment until we know the full story, but I hope they leave Hermie on reporting & the pits on the trucks series (and if they don't, ESPN could certainly stand an upgrade.) I've always liked Hermie--I know he's not the most articulate guy on the planet (he has an unusual sort of breathless delivery) but he manages to get the necessary info out and he knows what he's talking about, and he seems respected in the garage.

I have nothing against people like Marianella as doing fluff pieces on whatever show, but it seems like they have others doing that, how many 'fluff' people do you need? There's already way too much fluff in general. And if that's all they want, I think they could find 'racing' people to do it. We need more NASCAR kids to take communications/broadcast journalism like Wendy did. I do a *little* humor or personal touches, or even silliness is okay. The problem is if you have too much eventually your broadcast has no guts (ie, Trackside.) As for Raceday...I sometimes have it on, but I'm usually in & out, not paying strict attention. Kenny Wallace is barely tolerable (and when he sends me over the edge I hit the remote...)

52 yr. fan said...

So sad to read about Dustin Long.
He is one of the few factual reporters left on the circuit. Never an indication of bias.

Maybe one of the networks could find a place for him to add some integrity to their agendas.

Zieke said...

I've said it again and again, the Waltrips will completely spoil any NASCAR show and or race.
Other announcers and color people are tolerable, they are not. I guess the women are trying to get a good handle on the sport, whether they succeed will be known in the future.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Hermie elevated his game this season, good to see ...he has earned more air time, not less ...Marty Smith's rapport with drivers and knowledge of the sport show in the quality of his work ...Dustin Long consistently reports factually and accurately ...FOX and ESPN hold their nose and until advertiser checks clear the bank ...disgusting to see that they hold NASCAR in such disdain ...more Evernham will be welcome ...Spencer has his place ...can only hope Craven and Lajoie could be paired on NNS broadcasts

glenc1 said...

just saw this at Jayski (gee, I wonder why Marty got Stewart....):

ESPN news and information programs SportsCenter and NASCAR Now will have reporters Shannon Spake (Edwards) and Marty Smith (Stewart) following the two contenders in Miami on Thursday and at the track Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

KoHoSo said...

If ESPN does indeed cancel NASCAR Now and refuses to find it a home even on the web-only ESPN3, that should remove any doubt held by any serious commenter on TDP about Disney's level of commitment to NASCAR and why they give us such terrible race telecasts.

As I always say about these issues, I do not hold it against any television outlet when they try to go for bigger ratings. On the other hand, when we know the size of the NASCAR viewing audience, it seems inconceivable that there should not be at least one support program for NASCAR on at a decent hour when so many programs going over the same football/baseball/basketball issues already exist and ESPN has so many channels.

Either that or there is somebody powerful out there that is just hellbent on never allowing the public to enjoy seeing Bestwick, Schrader, and Benson together ever again.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that explains some of the changes ESPN made to their race coverage. Moving Bestwick to the pxp and Briscoe to Nascar Countdown because maybe there was an inking that Nascar Now may not come back next season. By being proactive they keep Ms. Briscoe and improve their pxp coverage. Question becomes what happens with Mike Massaro? Does he become a Nascar reporter for Sportscenter, or a pit reporter and somebody loses their job, or does he host Nascar Countdown for Nationwide races only?

Daly Planet Editor said...

KoHoSo, just a reminder that ESPN has the same situation as SPEED. Turner Sports holds the online rights to the sport and ESPN cannot produce or post something online.

The reason ESPN can stream to Watch ESPN devices like laptops and smart phones is because that is simply the network's own signal sent online to subcribers only.

Isn't that a mess?

Anon, good suggestions. We should know about NN next week, but the 2012 line-up is not usually announced by ESPN until January.


KoHoSo said...

JD...yeah, I should have thought of that re: online rights to not cause confusion. I was just trying to make my point by using what is probably ESPN's least-watched service. Just replace "ESPN3" with Classic or News. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Funny how there is no ESPN comment about changing the IDIOTS in the production truck
They must be worried about "firing the handicapped"

Vicky D said...

I love Hermie on pit road, he asks different questions of the drivers. I also really like Steve Neville I hope he's kept maybe Neville & Sadler can work the pits for the trucks that would be great. Yes, please please get rid of Marianela she adds nothing to the broadcasts!

Fed UP said...

As long as Fox/Speed continue to push the motormouths on me, the more I will continue to tune out. Get rid of the Waltrips, or at least tell Darryl to drop the ditzy act-no one outside of Gomer Pyle is that stupid and he was a character on a t.v. show!

I liked Hermie on Speed...such a shame. I miss Elliott on Trackside. Watched ONE episode with the new format, haven't bothered to turn it on since.

The TNT crew, a good job. Even Larry Mac. The guy is much better away from motormouth waltrip.

ESPN-since they changed times of Nascar Now, haven't watched it. If they are going to be serious about the racing program, first start would be to stop scheduling races on sunday until 4 hours have passed for the football games. I like for the most part, the hosts..I htink that AB, DJ, and AP have good chemistry together. I will not watch CArl Edwards however. I think he's a bigger phony than DW, and that's saying alot.
I refuse to get showtime to watch one show..and if my cable company continues to move the Speed channel to the next tier..I won't be watfching that either.

Darcie said...

OK, when did the Waltrips take controlling interest in Fox Sports? That can be the only explanation for the Fox Sports love fest of those two. Both are nothing more than down home bozos who are painful to watch. Are there any intelligent race fans who like either of those two on their televisions?

Losing Hermie Sadler is wrong. He was the only good thing about Raceday. I hope he lands someplace else.

To Dustin Long, a sad goodby. I hope he finds a great job.

Anonymous said...

Vicki, I think you mean Chris Neville (Rolex sports cars) but yes, he is very good.

And Aaron Neville is a cool singer.

Anonymous said...

Number one ... it's called contracts. You cut the highest contract to save the most money. Number two, they screwed up with Hermie. Best guy on TV dumbasses!