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At long last, American car nuts have a version of Top Gear to call our own. The project has been in the works for a long time now, and finally debuted on the History Channel this past Sunday. As we go to press server, some 17,500 readers responded to our poll: over 42 percent had already watched it, a few more said they intended to, and less than 14 percent of respondents said they weren't even interested. That's all well and good, but how did the show itself actually fair on the all-important ratings chart?

Well, according to Inside Line, it did kinda-sorta alright. Some 1.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the show's debut. And that might seem like a lot – especially considering the NFL games it was airing against, but it's really just fair-to-middling. Compare it to the premiere for Conan O'Brien's new show on TBS (4.2 million) or History's top program Pawn Stars (3-5 million) and suddenly it looks quite modest. Still, it's in the very early going, and it's still around average for a basic cable show, so it's way too early to draw any conclusions about Top Gear USA and its fortunes.

[Source: Inside Line]


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  • 87 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      In a word, soulless. It had somewhat decent car videography, though not up to the quality of the crack production and filming team at Top Gear UK. It had a couple very small attempts at witty banter that were okay, and a whole lot of strained attempts that just came across as crude or clumsy.

      What this show did is prove that the real Top Gear isn't about the car reviews, it's about Clarkson, May, and Hammond.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The "Discovery" channels are just about all I have television for, so I am rather excited to have this show appear on History. I am at fault however because I had no idea this premiered already. My DVD is set to record tonight's episode and any further episodes. I am a fan of Rescue Me on FX and standup so hopefully I will be pleased with Adam Ferrara on the show. Final Gear FTW!
      • 4 Years Ago
      after watching the american top gear version it should be renamed reverse gear. the hosts just don't project a presence about them. i thought it was going to more original and etc. but they just copied top gear britian. too bad. was really looking forward to more than they had to offer. maybe with time and new writers, producers it might improve. i did like the daytona coupe and the ac cobra though in the studio. they always have a drool factor of '10'.
      • 4 Years Ago
      thats cause comcast changed the search platform on the digital dvr boxes and now it only shows one entry of each title. so if you search top gear it only comes up with a random bbc rerun.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What irked me about the show,....other than being called Top Gear,...it was like every other show about cars on Discovery's HD and Speed.

      Just with a track and a Stig,...(we all know the US Stig is Porky).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I will continue to watch this US show, but I am not particularly a fan so far.

      I know in the previous post about TG, people were defending this US version by stating that the first TG:UK was also pretty bad... but actually after rewatching the first couple of episodes (they are available on YouTube) with a rather wet-behind-the-ears Clarkson, I couldn't disagree more.

      The editing in those earlier TG:UK shows was a little rough, and they definitely didn't have the huge budget to run amok like they do now, but it was still quite an interesting show from the very first episode. I mean Clarkson was reviewing some god awful microvan type of vehicle with a gaudy interior that probably had less than 100 HP, and yet I found that more entertaining than the TG:US segment with the 3 Lambos.

      What struck me compared to the US version was how much Clarkson talked throughout the episode. There wasn't the "OMG that was so cool!" or "140 MPH.... 150 MPH.... 160 MPH!!!" low-brow rubbish from the US premiere show, but instead there was quite a bit of witty comments and dry humor that apparently only the British know how to do.
        • 4 Years Ago
        i don't agree.

        the berlingo is a nice vihicle.
        especially the current version.

        i would not wanna trade this car with any equal type of car build in the US.
        the facial aspect of the current berlingo rocks.
        but you must see it in real life.

        it's pretty much the best vihicle for a self employed electrician or plumber.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I liked it but could you imagine how much better the show would be with hosts such as: Adam Corolla, Christopher Titus, and Jay Leno or Tim Allen. I know those might too big of names for this show and it's budget but it would be an instant winner with them. I think that given enough time though this show will get better, however I feel it won't be given the time. I predict half way through the second season it will be canceled.
      • 4 Years Ago
      put up a poll to ask if we like it, not to ask if we watched it. i would say about 10% liked it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      US Top Gear?
      REALLY REALLY Dumb Idea...............................
      Will they have a blue Stig?
      The personalities/writing make the show........ not the format!
      Clarkson, Mays & Hammond!!!
      Will not even bother with it
      • 4 Years Ago
      After reading all the comments, and talking to friends who've watched the show, I know I'm not the only one that at least found SOME interesting content in the show. Namely, the Viper/Foust segment, and the Running of the Bulls segment.
      Beyond that, the show seemed strained, ill-paced, and amateurish at times.
      Foust is certainly the only one on the show who actually knows anything about driving. Remains to be seen if that means he actually knows much about cars in general though. The other two, seems to be new at the whole scene, and don't present any credibility with the subject they are talking to the audience about.
      I kind of think the show needs to be LESS of what people know of the UK version too. I can see it having the essence of the UK version but that doesn't mean it needs to have all the visual ques as well. The same furniture setting. The same leader board. The Stig. I mean, how many Americans have a clue what a "Stig" is?
      My suggestion would be to enforce the Top Gear "essence" of the show, while still allowing it to be more American in content.
      Also, I noticed a couple other things that hit me as odd:
      1. The US version is substantially shorter (UK=61min, US=44min)
      2. The US version had a slightly cheaper feel due to it being done on video tape.

      I would like to see the show have better hosts, some edgy humor, and definitely better guests. I mean, yeah, Buzz is an American hero but, whoever thought that he would make a good guest for the premiere episode of Top Gear USA is a moron.
      And one BIG thing I want to see is the hosts driving cars and not ALWAYS glowing about them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Let me first say that I and a number of colleagues at work at Top Gear UK nuts. One of the few shows that I record the series and watch every episode. Yes, some are better than others, but what a way cool show.

      But unfortunately for Top Gear US, when I saw the folks being cast, I knew they'd start out in a Rut. No personality. Little / no experience. The show was lame and I would find it hard to believe that the folks at Top Gear UK would have blessed the US team (maybe they weren't even asked).

      I really think there is a place for a show like this, but with the present crew, well - let's hope the History Channel only bought the first episode and cancels the rest. If the right people are found, this could be an awesome show (and I don't mean Jay Leno - although he might actually be much better than any of the current chaps).
      • 4 Years Ago
      FYI,
      The week of Nov. 15 - 21, History Channel had an average viewership of 1,546,000

      The week of Nov. 8 - 14, History Channel had an average viewership of 1,392,000

      This would lead me to believe that the 1,900,000 viewers of Top Gear USA had at least some positive impact.
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