BBC America plans to unveil a spinoff of the hit British automotive television series with Top Gear America later this year.
Plenty of British TV shows have seen further success in the U.S., from The Office to Shameless. Now, the most popular non-fiction television series in the world, Top Gear, is primed for a new American spinoff. The show is well-loved worldwide, and enjoyed its first run from 1977 to 2001 before rebranding for the current show, which has been on the air since 2002. The show has also seen international iterations in Australia, Russia, South Korea, China, and France.
Despite some recent host drama wherein Matt LeBlanc threatened to quit unless the show fired his co-host, Chris Evans (not that Chris Evans), Top Gear is prepared for a new show in the U.S. This will be the franchise’s second attempt at an American boot following the History channel’s 2010-2016 run, Top Gear USA.
According to a report from Deadline, the new American Top Gear, aptly titled Top Gear America, will premiere on BBC America later this year. The first seasons is slated to contain eight hour-long episodes co-hosted by actor William Fichtner, world champion drag racer Anton Brown, and journalist Tom “Wookie” Ford. BBC Worldwide will produce and distribute the show.
This Yankified version of Top Gear will emulate its predecessor and feature car reviews and celebrity guests. The reviews will span both modern vehicles and those most iconic to American history. Celebrity guests will compete for a number one spot on the Top Gear America leaderboard. Viewers will likely recognize actor co-host William Fichtner from his role as Sheriff Tom Underlay in the TV series Invasion. He also played the Gotham City Bank manager in The Dark Knight and stars in the upcoming comedy Krystal alongside superheroic actors Grant Gustin and Rosario Dawson.
Top Gear America will likely see success across the pond, since Top Gear USA was canceled as a production decision and the show enjoyed steady ratings during its six seasons. If Americans are universally proud of something, it’s our automotive industry, so the decision to acknowledge iconic cars from American history within the new Top Gear America is certain to draw in nostalgics and automotive experts alike. All in all, this will likely be a fine attempt at recreating a beloved show for a wider audience.
At the same time, lots of people were critical of Top Gear USA when it premiered, so Top Gear America could garner similar backlash. Additionally, there might be some concerns about market saturation, as former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May recently launched the nearly identical series, The Grand Tour, on Amazon last year.
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