“Top Gear” races into Italy

BBC Worldwide has licensed its flagship motoring format Top Gear to Italian pay-TV broadcaster Sky Italia. (Pictured, L-R: Top Gear Italia presenters Guido Meda and Joe Bastianich)
July 27, 2015

BBC Worldwide has licensed its flagship motoring format Top Gear to Italian pay-TV broadcaster Sky Italia.

Hosting the Italian series will be motoring journalist Guido Meda (pictured, left) and restaurant entrepreneur and former MasterChef personality Joe Bastianich (right). A third presenter for the program is still to be confirmed.

The deal marks the first for the commercial arm of the British pubcaster since the BBC severed ties with the original series’ host Jeremy Clarkson after an altercation with a producer.

The Italian remake is to be produced by Sony Pictures Television-owned Toro Media, and will air in 2016 across entertainment channel Sky Uno. The original BBC2 version of the show airs on DMAX in Italy.

Top Gear Italia will now join localized formats from Australia, China, Russia and the U.S., and follows French broadcaster RMC Découverte’s premiere of Top Gear France earlier this year. The BBC’s UK version has been licensed to more than 230 territories worldwide.

“We know that Top Gear already has a strong and established presence in Italy with the original UK series and the magazine proving hugely popular,” said Tobi de Graaff, executive VP of Western Europe at BBCWW, in a statement. “Adding a local version to the mix in a country steeped in motoring history will be fantastic for Italian audiences.”

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Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.