For so many years, the Barrett-Jackson classic car auctions and the SPEED Channel were nearly symbiotic, the SPEED cable programming bringing unparalleled popularity to Barrett-Jackson and the auction programming bringing an enthusiastic audience of viewers to SPEED.
But things change, and the Fox parent group last year decided to terminate SPEED as an automotive channel in the United States and replace it with another sports channel.
That left Barrett-Jackson programming scattered on Fox affiliate stations, so no one was really surprised when Barrett-Jackson announced in April that it would change channels, moving its live auction coverage to Velocity and the Discovery Channel, which are owned by Discovery Communications.
The Velocity/Discovery programming starts with Barrett-Jackson’s signature Scottsdale auction in January, with expanded coverage that includes live, Spanish-language versions for Central and South American viewers.
Coverage continues with Barrett-Jackson’s other auctions in Palm Beach, Florida; Reno, Nevada; and Las Vegas.
For longtime Barrett-Jackson viewers, the changeover will be fairly seamless as some of the on-air personalities from SPEED will still be present, namely Mike Joy, Steve Magnante and Rick DeBruhl. The production company that worked the auctions for SPEED will continue producing the programs for Velocity/Discovery.
Mecum Auctions also jumped ship earlier in 2014, leaving the Velocity Channel for NBC and its Sports Group, with whom it signed a three-year contract for auction programming. NBC Sports Group recently launched a weekly reality show based on the auctions called Mecum Dealmakers.
And the ineffable classic car enthusiast Jay Leno launched yet another television enterprise during 2014 after his retirement from the Tonight Show, turning his periodic YouTube videos into a regular TV program on CNBC that explores his vast collection of classic cars and motorcycles housed in the Big Dog Garage in Burbank, California. Obviously, Jay serves as host.