EXCLUSIVE: Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions, whose “Manningcasts” of Monday Night Football were a breakthrough hit when they debuted in 2021, is expanding its alternate telecasts to Formula 1.
In collaboration with ESPN, Omaha will produce three race telecasts hosted by actor Will Arnett and veteran driver Daniel Ricciardo. As with other sports, the pair will chat with each other as the action unfolds and also welcome guests.
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The Grandstand with Daniel Ricciardo and Will Arnett will debut with the Pirelli Canadian Grand Prix on June 18, airing on ESPN2 while the traditional race telecast airs on ABC. The other two editions will be with the United States Grand Prix in Austin, TX, on October 22, and the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix on November 18.
Last fall, Disney/ESPN renewed its long-running rights deal with F1 through 2025 after interest was expressed by Netflix and multiple other parties. Alternate telecasts were provided for in the agreement. Ratings jumpe 28% in the U.S. in 2022 over 2021 as cities like Miami have joined the circuit with splashy, weekend-long events. Record high numbers of women and younger viewers tuned in, according to ESPN.
“As Formula 1’s popularity continues to grow in the United States, we’re pleased to provide fans with another way to enjoy the sport, and a way for new fans to learn more about it,” said Kate Jackson, ESPN VP, Production “Daniel’s effervescent personality will resonate on television, as will his hands-on knowledge.” Arnett, she added, “will bring the perspective of a dedicated fan of F1 to the telecasts as well as his unique and humorous way of appreciating F1. It will be a great combination.”
Arnett, who previously starred in Arrested Development and 30 Rock and now co-hosts the popular SmartLess podcast, has developed enthusiasm for F1 in recent years and worked with legendary F1 driver Mika Häkkinen on his former podcast. “The more I learn about Formula 1, the more I’m intrigued by it,” he said. “The opportunity to work with Mika on my podcast was fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to doing this show with Daniel. We’re going to have fun, and so will the viewers.”
Ricciardo is an eight-time Grand Prix winner in F1 competition and currently the third driver for Oracle Red Bull Racing. The Australian first raced in F1 in 2011, earning the nickname of The Honey Badger, for his combination of aggression on the track and smiling demeanor outside of races.
“This is going to be a hoot!” said Ricciardo. “As you’d expect, Will and I are going to have some fun with the show, but we’re hoping it just feels like you’re watching F1 with your mates. We will have some amazing guests, plenty of laughs and with some luck, bring fans another step closer to the sport I love so much. Buckle up, America!”
The Grandstand comes after a 2022 agreement was reached by Disney and ESPN with Manning and Omaha Productions. The pact extended a fourth year of the Manningcast featuring Manning and his brother, Eli, as well as alternative telecasts for the NBA, college football, golf and the UFC.
“It’s great to be partnering with ESPN to expand the ‘megacast’ format into F1,” said Peyton Manning, founder of Omaha Productions. “We are excited to do this project with Daniel and Will. They are good friends who will bring expertise and fun to the broadcast.”
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