Clearly as a Jersey resident I have no wagering use for TVG (a non-NJ state), but really enjoy their race coverage, and the few who have read my online contest wraps will note my favoritism over HRTV, which I find erudite and does not necessarily cater to the virtual wagering audience. I really respect Laffit Pincay, but think the network is too happy running promos for its other programs and focuses way too much on Santa Anita, and find some of the other cast a little "above" me, as opposed to the salt of the earth TVG hosts.
Anyway, what prompted me to write on TVG was a text from my friend Terry, who never misses his daily afternoon soaps and Judge Judy but rarely watches racing, asking what I thought about a story that crossed the wire about a handful of layoffs at the Betfair-owned network. Assuming the Bloodhorse.com story is accurate, I am disappointed with the departures of Chris Kotulak and Bob Baedeker ("Mr. B"), the latter of whom reminds me of my dad and I found to be one of the best handicappers on the network. The Franks, meanwhile, were OK, though less-frequent hosts, and I always sensed had other careers in racing anyway (i.e. Mirahmadi is a track announcer on the California fairs circuit).
My two cents in short...the reported departures signal, perhaps, that TVG is looking to focus on its younger hosts, with "catchier" shows like Todd & Simon Tuesdays and The Friday Night Late Double, which infuse a little more personality and attempts, especially with the latter, to give more of "an in-crowd" feel to a night at the track. The stodgier audience no doubt will be turned off by hints of entertainment-style racing television, but it is clear that the industry really needs to attract younger horseplayers to the game, and if that means Greg Wolf and Christina Oliveras talking about clubs and live music with handicapping or polling dimwits at the Hollywood what they played for a late daily double, then so be it. In the meantime, as a fan of the network, I wish the departed hosts nothing but success in their endeavors.