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BBC America greenlights “Top Gear” spinoff

BBC America has ordered an American version of UK hit Top Gear. With a nod to its UK roots, the U.S. spin-off will appear on BBCA with eight hour-long episodes starting ...
March 21, 2017

BBC America has ordered an American version of UK hit Top Gear.

With a nod to its UK roots, the U.S. spin-off will appear on BBCA with eight hour-long episodes starting later this year.

Top Gear America will be hosted by racing enthusiast and veteran film and television actor William Fichtner, world champion drag racer Antron Brown, and British automotive journalist Tom “Wookie” Ford.

Top Gear America will review not just exclusive and state-of-the-art vehicles, but also the cars of America’s culture-defining past. From the latest supercars to the ultimate in automotive engineering technology, Top Gear America puts the viewer in the passenger seat alongside the car-obsessed hosts as they race the most incredible vehicles on the scenic highways and historic tracks of the American west.

Each week will feature a different celebrity who will compete for top honor on the leader board at the new Top Gear studio and track, Speed Vegas. Stig, Top Gear‘s mysterious test driver, will be leaving everyone in his petrol-hazed wake.

“We are big fans of the mix of cars, credibility and charisma that adds up to the winning formula for Top Gear, and couldn’t be happier that BBCA is now the home for the franchise in the US, with Top Gear America joining the original show on our network,” said Sarah Barnett, president of BBCA in a statement. “Bill, Antron and Wookie are serious gearheads who never take themselves too seriously. It will be quite the trip.”

This isn’t the first iteration of Top Gear stateside. NBC ordered an American version of the show to be hosted by Adam Carolla back in 2008.

A few years later, in 2010, Top Gear USA debuted on U.S. cable net History, with hosts Rutledge Wood, Tanner Foust and Adam Ferrara in the driver’s seat. That version of the program strayed from the UK original to focus instead on car customization. The show was canceled after five seasons.

Across the pond, the successful show is shifting gears. The BBC was forced to recast the series in 2015 after the high-profile departure of its stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. The trio has since moved to Amazon where they launched The Grand Tour —another vehicle-themed show.

In their wake, former Friends star Matt LeBlanc is set to take over as the series’ top presented when it returns this year on BBC2. LeBlanc

Top Gear America is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions for BBC America.

About The Author
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.

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