Top Gear USA free to criticize cars at will

When I was a kid there was this terrible car show on television that was sponsored by a certain automaker that shall remain nameless. Every week – that is, every week I could bear to watch it, at least – the hosts would review a car from that company, and guess what? They always liked it! And that's what makes Top Gear such a hit. Because the BBC is publicly-funded, they don't have advertisements. (Notice that downloaded episodes of Top Gear run an actual full hour, instead of the usual "hour-long" shows that run 45 minutes.) Without advertisers, Clarkson and company are free to say what they want about whatever car they're reviewing, and so journalistic integrity remains intact, even as they catapult caravans and play soccer (sorry, "football") with hatchbacks.

With NBC "gearing" up for its own version of the hit car show, reportedly to be called simply "Gear", the fear was that, as the show would be dependent on commercial advertisements, the recently-announced team of co-hosts would be reigned in by the bean-counters regarding what they could and could not say about the cars they'd be reviewing. Thankfully, on a recent episode of his radio talk-show, Adam Carolla revealed that no such limitations would be imposed by NBC on the show's editorial autonomy. You know, this may just work out yet. Thanks for the tip, T Bray!


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