LA Times' Dan Neil bumped from NBC Gear

NBC is inching closer to finalizing the cast for the American version of the hit BBC series Top Gear, but it looks more and more like Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld and Tim Allen won't be part of the program. Reportedly to be called just "Gear", the show is anticipated to include four presenters instead of the BBC's three – although one could be assuming the role of The Stig as the show's test driver. Adam Carolla announced on his radio show that he'd be taking part in the program. Formula D driftmaster Tanner Faust is also tipped to be on the show (possibly in the aforementioned test driver role). However Dan Neil, the Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive journalist for the Los Angeles Times, revealed that despite having a signed contract with NBC, he would not be part of the line-up. Neil was suitably disappointed, but attributed the change of heart to a lack of on-air personality on his part, although last year he was part of the 10-episode WIRED Science show on PBS.

In a more discouraging sign, meanwhile, indications are that the scathing rhetoric that makes the BBC show such a hit will be severely curtailed by NBC, who fear a backlash from sponsors. According to Carolla, the program was set to begin filming at the El Toro Marine Air Base in California on March 20.

[Source: The Truth About Cars]

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