Top Gear producer talks about foreign editions

Top Gear Executive Producer Andy Wilman is aware of the acrimony that surrounds the apparently not-dead-yet U.S. edition of the show, and makes a case on the Top Gear blog for both the Yankee and Australian spinoffs that are marching their way towards prime time audiences soon. Wilman points out that Top Gear's success is not formulaic like other shows that have been churned in different locations all over the world. May, Clarkson, Hammond and the Stig aren't generic slots on the show that can be easily filled. Plugging people into positions like "here's the guy who used to play in Journey, sitting next to the pop star, who's seated next to the jaded British record executive who's clearly having his time wasted while making enough to purchase a Veyron," won't hold water.

Not only can the hosts not be duplicated in a Dick Sargent/Dick York fashion, the shows themselves have to be aware of each other and find ways to fit around what the other is doing. So, the uphill battle facing the localized versions of Top Gear is finding the proper personalities (the Australians already have) who will genuinely fit together and have chemistry, while also getting those people to do and say things that are compelling without just repeating the schtick of the original in a different location.

Wilman acknowledges that those who know about the original Top Gear in North America are fanatics who won't stand for a watered down retooling. Just because there may someday be a homegrown version of TG doesn't mean they'll stop watching the original. One thing that's skirted by Wilman's post is the writing. It's been said many times that the unvarnished opinion that flies on the original won't work on an advertising-dependent network like NBC in the U.S. If the presenters aren't given good material or allowed to riff with leeway, the U.S. Top Gear is dead in the water regardless of the personalities on camera.

[Source: Top Gear]

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