Exclusive: Car Culture Series 'Americarna' Leads Velocity's New SlateNetwork targeting upscale men plans 400 hours of premieres for 2013-14 4/01/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern
Velocity, the upscale malefocused
network from Discovery
Communications, is planning
more than 400 hours of original programming
in 2013-14, a 30% increase over last
season, highlighted by a car culture series
with racing stars Jeff Gordon and Ray
Evernham to premiere next January.
At its New York upfront event on April 4,
Velocity will announce the new series
Americarna hosted by Evernham, Gordon’s
NASCAR crew chief-turned-team
owner, in which he travels the country finding vintage cars. Those scenes will
be paired with historical footage and interviews
detailing stories of auto history
that impacted American culture.
Episodes will explore subjects such as
the dirt road races of 1930s North Carolina
bootleggers (the genesis of modern
NASCAR racing) and the drag
strips of Southern California
in the 1950s. Friends including
Gordon will appear to
add historical perspective or
drive the restored cars. The
series premieres Jan. 28 at
10:30 p.m., following a new
season of Chasing Classic Cars.
Classic Cars is one of nine
returning series on Velocity’s
slate. The others are
Fifth Gear, Overhaulin’ and
Motorweek, which return in
October along with Chasing Classic Cars;
January’s Wheeler Dealers; Kings of Crash
and What’s In the Barn? (March 2014);
Fantomworks (May 2014) and Dallas Car
Sharks (June 2014).
While returning series form the basis
of the network’s next season, Velocity
execs are working on developing companion
shows to help grow the schedule.
“What we’re trying to do is take the formulas
that work in those 10 series and
then either take a character or take the
story line editorial and branch it off and
try to create a new following series that
could hold that night and time slot,” says
Bob Scanlon, senior VP, Velocity.
The new and returning series will be
supplemented with more than 200 live
hours of programming, with new editions
of Mecum Auto Auctions each quarter.
Mecum hosts live events in Chicago
Oct. 25-26; in Anaheim, Calif., Nov.
21-23; and in Kansas City Dec. 5-7.
In 2014, Mecum travels to Kissimmee,
Fla.; Houston; Kansas City; Indianapolis;
Monterey, Calif.; and Dallas.
The 10 Mecum events are up from eight
last year, with more days planned for each
city as well. Live programming has been
a ratings driver and helped make the first
quarter Velocity’s best-rated quarter ever.
“It really does well,” Scanlon says. “It’s
one of those things—pardon the pun—
like watching a car wreck. People turn it
on and they can’t stop watching because
there’s always one more car coming.”
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