Monday, January 26, 2009

You know what bugs me about.....The Versus Network

Today, we start a new and exciting feature here on the Nearly Famous Fred blog. At least I think it's going to be new and exciting. You very well could be bored to tears by it, but I think it's going to be fantastic.

As I have mentioned before, I am a born and bred Texan. And despite the popular opinion held of Texans across the rest of these, The United States, that being that Texan's are a shy, quite, and somewhat reserved people, I happen to be an anomaly here, in that I can be somewhat opinionated, and not terribly shy about expressing it. This is why I am so excited about this new feature on my blog. Whenever you see one of my post, in which the title begins with the phrase "You know what bugs me about.....", this is basically going to be me taking the opportunity to vent my frustrations and dissatisfaction for someone or something. I'll try not to sound to whiny (??) or petty. I say I'll try, but I make no promises.

In this, the first installment of "you know what bugs me about.....", we look at the Versus network.

First of all, I appreciate the fact that if Versus didn't broadcast coverage of pro cycling, there would literally be no place for cycling fans in the US to see any. That not withstanding, I just spent a week watching 30 minute highlight shows of the Tour Down Under. 30 minutes? Are you kidding me?? Is there so much going on in the world of fringe sports, that they couldn't spare a whole hour to recap a stage of a bike race that conservatively took the cyclist 4 to 5 hours to complete. I was watching the "coverage" of one of the stages and before they broke for commercial, there was about 90 k's to go to the finish. When they came back from commercial 3 minutes later, Paul Sherwin was talking about how the teams were lining up for the sprint finish.

Just to compare, let's see what Versus is showing tonight. In tonight's prime time schedule, Versus is offering the following:

7:00pm to 8:00pm --- "The Contender". This would be the mixed martial arts version of Survivor Island.

8:00pm to 10:00pm --- "The PBR Built Ford Tough Series". For those who don't know, that Professional Bull Riding. That's 2 hours of professional bull riding. I'm sorry, but I refuse to believe that there are that many people interested in watching bull riding, that it requires 2 hours of it to satisfy their desire.

10:00pm to 11:00pm --- "The Contender". This would be a rerun of the contender that they showed 3 hours earlier.

11:00pm to 1:00am --- "The PBR Built Ford Tough Series". That's right, they're rerunning the same 2 hours of bull riding that they showed at 8:00pm. Just in case anyone had to go to the bathroom and might have missed 3 minutes of the 2 hours of bull riding that they showed at 8:00pm, they're going to go ahead and rerun the entire 2 hours.

So, if I understand, (and I think I do), they condense a 4 to 5 hour stage of cycling down to 30 minutes, but they fill 4 hours of a six hour block of prime time programming, with the ratings grabber that is bull riding. And it's not even 4 hours of original bull riding programming. It's 2 hours of bull riding, and then a rerun of that 2 hours. Now, I do understand that this is "Professional" bull riding. I'd really be upset if this was amateur or collegiate bull riding.

The first 3 weeks of July are just about my favorite of the year. My time is pretty much budgeted as follows. I get to work at 8:00am. Via the miracle of the internet, I immediately bring up the Velonews.com website, and follow the text updates of the Tour de France online. Everyone in my office pretty much understands that they're not gong to get much, if any, actual work out of me during those 3 weeks, until after lunch. I then put in a solid 4 hour work day after lunch, and get home from work around 5:00pm. I then go on my evening bike ride until about 7:00pm. Once home, I shower, and start that evening's coverage of that day's TdF stage. Bed is usually around 10:30pm to 11:00pm.

That's pretty much how it goes every weekday for the first 3 weeks of July. My coworkers know this. My wife and son know this. Deviations from this schedule are not tolerated. I know that I have Versus to thank for this, and believe me, I am grateful.

But I remember that it wasn't that long ago, when Versus provided the same type of coverage for the Vuelta d'Espana, that they still offer for the TdF. But I'm guessing that due to the overwhelming demand for more bull riding coverage, the went to the daily 1 hour updates format. When they announced that they were dropping their expanded coverage of the Vd'E, they said that Versus wholeheartedly supported cycling, and would continue to support it in the future.

If they offer any more support like this, there won't be anywhere to watch cycling at all.

The other thing that bugs me about the Versus network.....more Bob Roll, less Frankie Andreu.

Thus ends the first installment of "You know what bugs me about...". Boy, it felt good to get that off my chest.

Peace out.....Nearly Famous Fred



1 comment:

Cliff said...

You are right there is, believe it or not, one heck of a lot more interest in Bull riding than Bicycling.

Every time I talked to my 83 year old mother in July I had to hear how those darn bikes took up her bull riding, watching time.