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Give the New 'Top Gear' a Chance, Says Tanner Foust

by Danny Gallagher, posted May 3rd 2010 3:07PM
The StigThe gearheads of the world rejoiced when NBC put a bullet in the back of the head of a planned remake of the classic British car show 'Top Gear.'

And who can blame them? First of all, this is NBC we're talking about, a network that would pull a show off-the air five minutes into its premiere episode if the ratings didn't please "Darth Zucker." Plus, 'Top Gear' isn't just an institution to gear junkies and "petrolheads." It's one of the most accessible and hilarious shows on television. Even if you drive a used 2001 Pontiac Sunfire and subsequently know nothing about good cars, you can still enjoy it just as much as the octane-brain who takes a brand new Gumpert Apollo to work.

Now The History Channel is taking a crack at rebuilding the show's stalled engine from scratch. I say give it a chance. Anything has the potential to be good if its heart is in the right place. But before you tell me to do something that would get your mouth washed out with soap and a Brillo pad by your mother, don't take my word for it. Take it from one of the show's upcoming stars.

Tanner FoustTanner Foust will be one of the show's three lead hosts/crash dummies along with comedian and actor Adam Ferrara and racing analyst Rutledge Wood. He was also one of the three hosts for the lost NBC pilot of the 'Top Gear' remake along with Adam Carolla and HGTV star Eric Stromer.

Racing fans will recognize Foust as the highly competitive and decorated rally and drift racing champion who became the first driver in history to win back-to-back championships in the Formula D drifting league in 2007 and 2008. Regular watchers of The Speed Channel will also recognize him as the host of 'Supercars Exposed.'

Foust said by email that he realizes the tremendous pressure from the fans to get the new show just right. He says that not just as the newest member of the global 'Top Gear' family, but also as a 'Top Gear' fan.

"I've been a fan of 'Top Gear' for a long time," Foust wrote. "It's amazing to have a chance to be part of it and sure, there's pressure to get it right. It's such a great concept: three guys doing insane things with cars. We have a great cast and lots of support from the creative team at the BBC and we're doing our best to deliver something that fans will like, but that also appeals to people over here who've never seen the original."

The roles of the hosts will also fit their personalities, just like the original show.

"As a racer I tend to see cars from the drivers seat, (so) the look, marketing position and color don't mean much to me if the car isn't fun to drive," Foust said. "So I guess you could say I'm the performance snob."

'Top Gear' purists will also be happy to learn that some of the original show's team members are working on the U.S. version. So the two may not be carbon copies, but Foust assures us that the brightest parts of both shows will shine through.

"Obviously, with different hosts and a US audience, the show's not going to be an exact replica of the UK version," Foust said. "But we're working with the team at the BBC to keep the American version of 'Top Gear' true to the original concept. We've just started filming and we're already working on some pieces that are going to be insane."

Foust also confirmed the U.S. version will also have its own "tame racing driver." All we know is he may or may not be called The Stig.

"We have a Stig and the camera adds ten pounds," Foust said. "That's all I'm saying."

He would not confirm if he knows only two facts about ducks and that both of them are wrong or if he only eats cheese.

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I've been a fan of Top Gear for the last five years or so and while the original will always hold a special place in my heart, I'm going to give the History Channel's version a shot. I think the concept holds a LOT of potential for American audiences and as long as they hit a similar feeling to shows like Mythbusters I think Top Gear USA will do just fine.

And no offense, but people bickering about how disastrous a US Top Gear will be are just blind fanboys. They need to be at least a little open-minded.

May 07 2010 at 7:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here's the problem: somebody looked at the BBC original and said "This works because they are funny, have some knowledge, an opinion and can drive a car fast - so we need to cover those bases".

But instead of getting three guys who are good to average at any of those points, they got one for each section.

Or, to sum it up Top Gear Style: "One bloke who wears boiler suits with patches a lot, one lad who tells people the obvious on a race track and one chap who is frequently seen in bars, telling raunchy jokes".

May 04 2010 at 4:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well. Hm. That's interesting. When you put it that way, I guess I might...naaahhhh! HAH! Ha ha ha and HA. Life's too short to subject oneself to that kind of pain. Sorry, Tanner. My view on the impending debacle here: http://dragondroppings.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/top-gear-america-what-the/

May 03 2010 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jayne's comment

I went and checked your post (something I don't often do), and I must say I agree wholeheartedly. It's not about the cars - it's about the hosts.

I'm not into cars - I don't even drive. I originally started watching Top Gear because I was a fan of Richard Hammond from his hosting duties on Brainiac. I stayed because I found Jeremy and James to be just as much fun as Richard.

As I've said before, I might have given Top Gear US a shot had Adam Carolla stayed attached to the project, as he's the only one who's been associated with it that even comes close to the endearing snark of the UK hosts. Without him, I don't think so.

May 03 2010 at 8:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No thanks. The show itself is not great, it's the announcers. Tanner Foust, Adam Ferrara and especially Rutledge Wood sound like a disaster.

May 03 2010 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm looking forwards to seeing this, but cautiously. The original version is just perfect, so I'm leery about a remake. I like how they've added a racing analyst instead of an HGTV star, so this may end up being a pretty enjoyable programme.

Of course, I'm not gonna knock it til I try it, but the bar is set extremely high for the show, and I'm glad the stars realize it.

May 03 2010 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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