Ad agency-created Fast Cars & Superstars debuts on ABC tonight

Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, ABC debuts its seven-episode series Fast Cars & Superstars. The show pairs NASCAR drivers with celebrities, who will eventually race one another; think Dancing with the Stars minus ballroom dancing plus NASCAR.

The celebrities, most of whom are athletes, are Jewel, William Shatner, Tony Hawk, Krista Allen, Ty Murray, John Salley, John Elway, John Cena, Serena Williams, Gabrielle Reece, Laird Hamilton, and Bill Cowher. The NASCAR drivers are Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray, and Ryan Newman. Collectively, they’re known as the “Gillette Young Guns,” which gives the series its subtitle, “The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race.”

That’s perhaps the first time that product placement has become part of a show’s title, and it makes sense, because “Gillette and the BBDO advertising agency worked together to develop the series,” according to the AP.

Because ABC is, as we all know, America’s most incompetent broadcast network, their web site for the new show declares that it’s “COMING SOON.” That might be a good indication about how much faith the network has in the new show; they didn’t even bother to edit some HTML.

Reviews for the show are pretty dismal: The Washington Post’s John Maynard calls it a “clunker” with “very little drama”; United Feature Syndicate’s Kevin McDonough says it is “not merely boring. It’s also loud.” And the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Rob Owen says the show is “a bore — nothing more than watching celebs go in circles.”

Reality Series a Gillette Showcase [AP]
Fast Cars & Superstars [ABC]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.