SBD/Issue 93/Sports Media

Image Is Everything: HBO Airs Debut Episode Of Johnson's "24/7"

HBO Receives Praise From Media Members
For First Episode Of "24/7 Jimmie Johnson"
HBO last night aired the debut episode of "24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona," which narrator Liev Schreiber described as "four weeks inside a legend's inner circle, unrivaled access to an unparalleled man, preparing for an event so venerated it's known simply as 'The Great American Race.'" The episode begins with Johnson starting his morning with some juice and an apple, with Schreiber saying, "A man and his clean-cut image: An uneasy alliance." NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson: "Coming up through the ranks, the only opportunity I had was to fit in corporate America. I almost had two lives. I had to separate myself and be so clean, polished, all those different things to get the opportunities. I'm corporate America's dream, and then at the same time, a fan base's ... nemesis of that. I guess I do a bad job of showing 'dumb Jimmie,' ‘crazy Jimmie,' whatever that exact phrase is. … I work hard, I play hard." Schreiber: "While Jimmie Johnson's public face may not mirror his private life, one thing remains clear: The 34-year-old California native knows how to drive a race car." In transcending his sport, Johnson “has struggled with more than just his image. Some question the very nature of his achievement." Johnson: "The thing through it all that's frustrating and pisses me off more than anything is to not have the respect for what we've done and to not be considered an athlete" ("24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona," HBO, 1/26).

POSITIVE REACTIONS:’s Bob Pockrass wrote on his Twitter account, “Overall first Jimmie Johnson 24/7 was really good. Production quality awesome. A little dramatic but supposed to be.” Former NASCAR Scene writer Jeff Gluck: “NASCAR has never, ever, ever looked cooler than on this HBO show. Even if you don't like Jimmie, gotta love this show if you like racing.” USA Today’s Nate Ryan: “With best reality TV, you learn stuff you don't expect & that was case w/HBO's 24/7. Good production from this amateur's view, too.”

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