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August 28, 2015

Top Gear USA hosts named

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 16th 2008 4:40PM
top gearCar enthusiasts, take note: The British series all about cars, Top Gear, is coming to America. That's been previously announced, but today we can share the news that Adam Carolla, Tanner Foust and Eric Stromer will be teaming up to host the new NBC incarnation of Top Gear. It just so happens that I was watching Top Gear on BBC America yesterday and it's a fun show; it's not too techie-car show, it's more about the chemistry among the three hosts and the fun, goofy challenges they do that involve cars.

Yesterday's show, for instance, pitted a one host in a Mercedes Benz SUV driving from London the the airport versus one host on a super bicycle, another in a speed boat on the Thames, and The Stig -- an anonymous test driver -- making the trek via public transportation. It was pretty funny, especially since the car lost!

The US version will try for the same jovial quality as the U.K. show, no doubt, and having seen Adam Carolla and Eric Stromer on other TV shows, I don't think that'll be a problem. Carolla is a comic. He's been on The Man Show and Crank Yankers, amongst other shows. Stromer has been a home-building expert (like Extreme Home Makeover's Ty Pennington) on TLC's Clean Sweep, and hosts the HGTV show Over Your Head. Tanner Foust has been chosen for his automobile expertise; he was a stunt driver in The Bourne Ultimatum, The Dukes of Hazzard and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

It'll be interesting to see if the American version employs a character like The Stig. It seems a very British comic device, at least that's how it seemed in the episode I watched. (Knowing how dumb American TV execs can be, let's hope The Stig doesn't become a puppet or an animated character!). The format promises "epic races, outrageous stunts and challenges, unique celebrity guest participation and eccentric methods of testing cars."

According to NBC, "This franchise is a proven winner worldwide and the hosting team of Adam, Tanner and Eric that we have brought together for the U.S. version offers a perfect match of humor, insider know-how and priceless track experience. We are going to create a high-powered show that, like the original, will keep viewers in every demographic clutching the edge of their seats."

Top Gear has been an international success for over 30 years, but the question is this: will it work for American viewers? I guess that'll depend a lot on how NBC programs and markets it. It can't be worse than Celebrity Circus, right?

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wow some long posts to answer a simple question, will the american version work?
Why? no jeremy, richard or james

June 16 2008 at 10:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NBC is making a big mistake. Canceled after 2 episodes. The BBC version is great because of Jeremy Clarkson PERIOD!!! The only thing that they could duplicate is "the Stig" otherwise no shot whatsoever in making this a winning show, let alone come close to equaling what the BBC version has amassed.

June 16 2008 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's doomed by the management.
I love the BBC version, and I like Carolla, but sounds like too many Hollywood hands are on it

June 16 2008 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I look forward to the new version, but only if NBC doesn't force BBC America to pull the UK show off the air. The only thing wrong (for US audiences) with the original Top Gear, is that many of the cars featured are ones not available and/or not known to us and that some of their guest stars are similarly unknown. Otherwise, the show and it's trio are spectacular - it will be tough to match the entertainment value of the show. I do hope that they don't take a "Big Network Bucks" approach to it. If you've seen any of the episodes, you'll know that the low-budget approach is the best thing about the series. If you'd seen the Motorhome racing episode, which ended up turning into more of a destruction derby, you'd realise (British spelling for effect....) that the "less is more" approach works just fine. It's the deep-pocket approach that has kept another import from giving away it's top prize - Deal or No Deal - The UK version has given away the top prize, because the contestants are willing to bet the smaller values in order to get it. Yes, I know, DOND is still good, but the point is that NBC made it an entirely different show and that won't work here. Okay, change the hosts, but make sure you keep the core of the show the same - PLEASE!!

June 16 2008 at 6:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to WhatI's comment

Deal or No Deal is a good show? Ayecarumba.

There's more to top gear than the bits. It's all about the hosts. Clarkson, May and Hamster are amusing on their own.

June 16 2008 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The primary thing to keep in mind here is that the "real" Top Gear is provided cars by manufacturers for testing purposes and to receive reviews. The reason for this is the hosts all KNOW WHAT THE HECK THEY ARE DOING! This show will be a monumental flop when produced by a US producer as they obviously haven't a fucken' clue as to what the UK version is all about. 3 guys/boys and their (and especially other people's) toys. The star in a reasonably priced car segment can't be recreated. That is Clarkson's baby all the way.

June 16 2008 at 5:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We see the problem with US TV networks in just these few quoted words:

"This franchise is a proven winner worldwide".

It's not a "proven franchise", it's a proven "show". It's no more a franchise that can be exported than the Howard Stern radio show can be exported as a format with "a curly haired jewish guy, a black woman and some other people in the studio who talk about stuff and have guests". That's also not a proven franchise, it's success is based on the actual people involved.

A US Top Gear will fail because it's going to run on a TV network paid for by advertising. All the car manufacturers are going to want to be placed in that space, which means the hosts won't have the freedom to say what they really feel about the cars they're testing.

The UK Top Gear is unique because it's a BBC show, meaning there are no ads. You can't have the host of a show saying a particular brand makes only garbage when the company owning that brand are paying for advertising time on the show. It just doesn't work. Before you know it, the show will he so watered down that it will just fall apart. I predict it won't make a second season.

The UK show 5th Gear is in the same situation, being on a commercial channel, and you see that they're a lot tamer in their reviews, merely saying one car is slightly better than another. They always try to find some positive points about a car though. That's not totally bad, all cars have something going for them. Top Gear don't worry about that though, and I think that's why it's vastly more successful. It's the reason that Top Gear was the 2nd most downloaded TV show in 2007. It was second only to Heroes. The show 5th gear didn't make it into the top 100.

June 16 2008 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No offense, but the post really only illustrates a little bit of what makes TG great. There are epic races (e.g. a jet vs. a car), stars in a reasonably priced car (a chevy aveo), driving through foreign countries, hot lapping cars on the TG track, the Stig, and most importantly, all 3 hosts can drive. I don't see the American version doing any of the above. Not to mention that this soap actor seems like a real ass clown. The other two hosts may be a perfect fit, but I think that the producers and the network will fail to come up with challenges that rival their counterparts across the pond. I think it will ultimately be just another car show.

June 16 2008 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Three points:

1. No Jeremy Clarkson, no Top Gear ;-)

2. I would reckon the worldwide success of the second coming of Top Gear (2002-) can be mainly attributed to the unique chemistry among the three car enthusiasts/presenters, namely Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May; that special chemistry, I think, can't be recreated with some random U.S. comic/stunt driver/builder-team.

3. What worries me the most is this part of the official press release: "The pilot of "Top Gear" will be executive produced by Tod Mesirow and Kevin Harris. Mesirow's background includes producing credits on "Wired Science," Discovery Channel's "Smash Lab," "Mythbusters," and "Monster Garage." He also executive produced Discovery Studio's "Overhaulin'" for TLC. Harris' credits include "The Apprentice" and "The Baby Borrowers" for NBC."

I can't watch most of these shows mentioned above without thinking about how much I despise the terrible production style on these shows (some nice ideas but too "overproduced"/"dramatized").

I reckon it could be successful on the american market, being targeted at "Joe AverageTvViewer" as it seems, but the rest of the world will still treasure and prefer the original.

June 16 2008 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
justin knox

As fans of the Brit version knows, they aren't afraid of giving their opinions, good or mostly bad about new cars they drive. I really doubt if NBC will allow that, since I'm sure they're pitching it to all the automakers to buy ad time. I guess it'll be about goofy people who run their cars on french fries grease and stories about the Oscar Meyer weinermobile.

June 16 2008 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why not just show us the real deal without bad american hosts? There's a reason Top Gear is loved and it's not the format...it's Clarkson and the Hamster. Replacing them pretty much nullifies the entire reason for the show to exist.

June 16 2008 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to YouFaceTheTick's comment

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