There's a running joke in the television industry: How do you cancel a popular Dave Despain show?
Eliminate the network.
For 10 years, Despain was the host of the popular "Wind Tunnel" show on Speed TV. His run on the show ended when Fox did away with Speed in favor of FoxSports, pushing Despain to the sidelines.
The 67-year-old Despain will return to the air Friday night at 5 p.m. on MAVTV. His new gig will be to host 26 half-hour interviews and host up to five racing events during the year. His first guest will be 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force.
"I"m really excited to get back to the grass roots of racing," said Despain, who signed a two-year deal with the independent network owned by Forrest Lucas. "And I"m also excited about being able to do a series of long-form interviews, the majority of which will feature the legends of grass roots racing. We"ll try to mix it up and have an interesting variety of personalities from all over the racing world."
In addition to Force, Despain's guests will include Dan Gurney, Jeremy McGrath, Kyle Larson, Sammy Swindell, Antron Brown, Cory Kruuseman, Ivan Stewart, Parnelli Jones, Dennis Anderson, Clint Bowyer, Bobby Unser and Forrest Lucas, sponsor of various series and MXTV owner.
In other words, racers from all forms of disciplines.
"We brought in an icon," said MAVTV president Bob Patison. "Dave is probably the best-known face and voice in motor racing on television.
"The Dave Despain Show will be a flagship series. Dave is one of the most respected names in motorsports journalism. He can now draw stories and memories from guests in a longer format that will definitely surprise and entertain MAVTV viewers."
That's because Despain has covered virtually all racing disciplines. As such, he's developed quite a bond with racers.
"Being asked to be on the Dave Despain Show is always a huge honor. He doesn"t pull any punches and asks great questions," said Force, whose 75-minute sitdown was edited to 30 minutes. "I have been interviewed by him for years and I love talking with him about racing. He covers it all, and to think that he wants to talk to an old truck driver like me is flattering."
So much so that, according to Despain, Force spoke about a few subjects for the first time on the air. Additionally, Gurney will announce breaking news on his segment later on.
"Our show isn't going to be fancy or flashy," said Despain, "just two people having an in-depth conversation. It's going to be fun, not dominated by 15-second sound bites. In the beginning (of his career), I vowed to talk about what's going on, not to pull any punches. I've developed a following.
"It's definitely an old-school show."
MAVTV, based in Corona, is relatively new to the TV landscape. It did gain some national exposure when it signed a three-year deal with Auto Club Speedway to sponsor the IndyCar season-ending MAVTV 500, and it is in 27 million homes.
"MAVTV provided a format where I can really talk to people one-on-one and learn some of the behind-the-scenes truths," Despain said. "It has been one of the coolest experiences yet and some of the stories are amazing. The quality and variety of guests is staggering, and the interviews reveal stories that even I haven"t heard in over 40 years of covering racing.
"The end result is deeply satisfying and I'm sure the viewers are going to love it."
Source: The Sun