You won't be able to walk very far in any direction this weekend at Churchill Downs without bumping into someone with a camera or a microphone. Besides the national television coverage Friday of the Kentucky Oaks on ESPN and the following day's Kentucky Derby on NBC, a wide variety of TV networks have decided that Louisville is the place to be this weekend.
Although Joan and Melissa Rivers won't be judging hats or bothering people on a red carpet, E! Entertainment will have a huge presence in the form of the "Anna Nicole Smith Show." The full-figured model will be doing the Derby party circuit this week, and her all-too-real reality show might well be taping at the Downs. EXtra, a program that tracks celebrities, will be star gazing around the Queen City as well.
The MTV-owned College TV Network, which beams to some 800 college campuses, will be studying past performances. I know when I was caught in class reading race programs I tried to pass it off as math work. ABC's new late night offering, "The Jimmy Kimmel Live Show," will feature interview segments hosted by none other than Tammy Faye Messner (formerly Baker). If it's a hot day watch your step--melting make-up could slicken the going around her.
CNN and the Weather Channel are also slated to do live broadcasts from Louisville. But food seems to be an active theme in this week's coverage, judging by interest from the Discovery Channel, which is working up a piece on tailgating. The Food Network just aired a special that Al Roker worked on last year in Louisville, featuring a story about a Louisville native who allegedly invented chewing gum. And what would food be without Emeril, who this week is preparing Kentucky country ham salad and a Derby pie with sweetened mint cream.
The Womens Entertainment Channel gets into the mix taping segments for a comedy show. There should be plenty to choose from. And for film buffs, an IMAX production on Thoroughbred racing is being filmed in part at this year's Derby.
On the magazine front, it's not just industry trade publications that cover the Run for the Roses. Forbes will tackle the Derby from a business standpoint, and the ever popular Floral Review, a trade publication on flowers and floral arrangements, will be covering the Derby's coveted garland of roses.
In addition, it's a good bet there will be media members following other media members around as the communications food chain grows ever wider and deeper in search for any story we can find. Dozens of lucky race fans should be getting their 15 minutes of fame this weekend.