The Haney Project and The Morning Drive

I’ve finally managed to watch my recorded episodes of the Golf Channel’s latest productions: The Haney Project – Rush Limbaugh and The Morning Drive. A few reactions:

Rush Limbaugh is Hank Haney’s third televised golf reclamation project, following on the heels of Charles Barkley and Ray Romano. I wasn’t a fan of either of the first two seasons, and I didn’t see any reason why the third season would make me a more regular viewer. I will say, however, that Rush looks like he’ll be a better student than either of the first two. He doesn’t have the cringe-inducing swing of Charles Barkley, nor the smarmy, whining attitude of Ray Romano. His swing looks like a lot of guys I see on the course, and his attitude is pretty good: he said at the outset that he really wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to try to maximize his potential.

Thanks to Rush’s millions of fans, this season of the Haney Project could potentially break all Golf Channel records. Here’s The Golf Channel’s official statement:

Tuesday’s season premiere of The Haney Project, Golf Channel’s hit original series featuring Rush Limbaugh, was the most-watched season premiere of any Golf Channel original series since NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley originally launched The Haney Project in March 2009.  Limbaugh’s premiere episode delivered a 0.3 household rating and 310,000 average total viewers.*

“We’re extremely pleased with the launch of our third season of The Haney Project,” said Tom Stathakes, Golf Channel senior vice president of programming, production and operations.  “This is a testament to the gains we’ve made to our original programming and that, in addition to great golf competition, Golf Channel is a viable choice for people seeking great entertainment.”

On the other hand, it’s sad that a “hit” for The Golf Channel is a 0.3 household share.

The Morning Drive reminds me of a golf-focused version of Mike and Mike—two guys discussing sports and the news in a give and take format. The couple of hours I saw were nothing special, but it was certainly more interesting than another round of Good Morning America or the Today Show. There were some decent phone interviews; the analysis was reasonable, and it wasn’t all about golf. I actually think there’s some potential for the show to grow and find an audience—however small (and small it likely will be).

Unfortunately, I won’t see The Morning Drive very often. My work day at school begins at 7 am.

My suggestion for ALL of the Golf Channel’s productions: invest in some infrastructure and upgrade the production values.

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