• Mar 31, 2008
NBC has officially purchased the rights to produce an American version of Top Gear, and seeing as it has one of this country's biggest gear heads on its payroll, it's a no-brainer that they would at least ask Jay Leno to host. In his most recent editorial for The Sunday Times, Leno recounts being asked by a corporate suit with practically no clue about of the hit British show to host the American version. It goes something like this. "Well, the network has bought the TV show... um... High Gear? Top Gear? Top Gear! Top Gear, yes. We know you like to build cars." Sigh...
Thankfully Leno turned down the offer, not because he's unworthy, but rather because he knows he couldn't do the show justice and because the idea of an American Top Gear is doomed from the start. Being part of the BBC, the original version is not reliant on advertising to stay on the air, so talking smack about a particular automaker and its wares is no biggie. As Leno notes, things work differently at NBC and any episode in which a sponsor gets lambasted would immediately be followed by what The Tonight Show host calls, "the meeting". And then, bye bye sponsors and bye bye show.

Rumors of comic Adam Carolla hosting the show have us optimistic, because he's a bonafide gear head and if anyone could keep it real about cars on camera, he could. Plus, his last name is phonetically identical to Toyota's little econo-sedan, which would be great fodder for ridicule by the other hosts, whoever they might be. The fact is, however, the task of doing justice to this great export from Great Britain is near impossible, and Jay knows it. Thanks for the tip, everybody!

[Source: Times Online]


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  • 67 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I got an invitation from the casting agent, sent in a CV, never heard back. By not casting me as host, they're certainly doomed to failure. Doomed, I tell you.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why couldn't HBO or Showtime do it? No sponsors, no network politics or language restrictions...come on cable....get your fingers out....don't you know you have a massive audience for this stuff?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Apart from the cars and the chemistry of the three host, think of all the crazy things that they do on Top Gear (yeah some are stupid but nonetheless great entertainment value), from building a space shuttle to an amphibious vehicle, or chop of the top of a minivan to make a convertible ppl carrier, I don't know how NBC would allow anything like that be done and filmed. Not enough ROI to justify the insurance most likely.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's gonna suck. 'nough said.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How does the BBC get cars?
      Well, it's manufacturers who give them to the BBC! Voluntarily. Free of charge. Koeniggsegg went even that far as to modify their cars especially for the TG track to go faster.
      The worst case scenario is that someone has to pick up the phone and say "Good morning, this is the BBC Top Gear and we would like to test your car". That's all there's to it.

      There are two recorded cases when manufacturers got mad - Toyta at one point refused to give their cars to be featured in th show, after TG "said something bad". And after Clarkson tapped the roof of Vauxhall Vectra for about a minute without utterring a single word - explaining the car is so boring there's nothing to be said.

      They got the Ferrari Enzo on loan from Nick Mason, Pink Floyd drummer in exchange for giving some airtime to his book. The Enzo is unobtainable otherwise and it was worth it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh, I forgot... how about Norm MacDonald from SNL?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I need a US show similar to Top Gear.

      Yes, the British show is top notch in all aspects. But I'm tired of seeing Europe only cars duke it out when I don't care about them. At least half, if not more, of cars reviewed and discussed there I don't have access to, nor do I see them on our roads. Plus I usually skip the Celebrity in a Reasonably Priced Car segment, unless it's a hot chick or a really famous person, cause I don't know most of them. So, a show akin to Top Gear would be welcomed by me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I tip my hat to Leno.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...and Letterman sucks
      • 6 Years Ago
      I watched the Speed TV show Test Drive over the weekend. This episode was on the new M3. The format was to show the car, interview some company people, then they got together with 4 pro-racers (Boris Said, John Andretti, Graham Rahal, and the normal host Tommy Kendall) and did a little competition at BMW's test school near their SC plant.

      If you throw the marketing part of the show out and only watched the competition, you saw some chemistry that could work on a show like Top Gear for the U.S. It reminded me a bit of being at the track over the weekend and ripping on your buddies and their cars.

      Of course they need an executive producer that is a car guy and you need to only allow non-OEMs to advertise, so it would never work (NBC is just waaay too greedy) but if they were smart, they could make it work.

      Unfortunately they will leave the producing to some suit who doesn't get it, marketed to the general populous and sponsored by OEMs that will demand not looking bad.

      • 6 Years Ago
      I think the name "4th Gear" might be more appropriate. It's going to be less than Top and 5th Gear.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Should we start a petition? An American Top Gear would be the equivalent to the American Iron Chef...just not the same.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's not the same, but I like Iron Chef America. It's cheesy, but you can't say the original wasn't either.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The BEST reason for a TG:US would be to use a track in California. It never rains in California.
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