The original Top Gear may have hit the skids without Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May at the wheel, but BBC America has no intention of giving up on the beloved franchise.
The network just greenlit eight episodes of Top Gear America, a U.S.-based spinoff featuring three new presenters: racing enthusiast and veteran film and television actor William Fichtner, British automotive journalist Tom “Wookie” Ford, and world champion drag racer Antron Brown.
Image: bbc america
The original series — now hosted by Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid — is currently airing Season 24 on BBC America, but has thus far failed to spark with critics or viewers, while Clarkson, Hammond and May have taken their schtick over to Amazon's The Grand Tour (which hasn't fared much better with reviewers).
Sarah Barnett, President of BBCA, commented: "We are big fans of the mix of cars, credibility and charisma that adds up to the winning formula for Top Gear, and couldn't be happier that BBCA is now the home for the franchise in the US, with Top Gear America joining the original show on our network. Bill, Antron and Wookie are serious gearheads who never take themselves too seriously. It will be quite the trip."
Top Gear America will review exclusive and state-of-the-art vehicles and also take a look at the culture-defining cars of America’s past. Each week will feature a different celebrity who will compete for top honor on the leader board at the new Top Gear America studio and track, Speed Vegas, while Top Gear's stalwart Stig will once again be on hand to put guests through their paces.
Can Top Gear America inject some fuel into the fading franchise, or is this a sign it's headed for the scrap heap? If it can survive Chris Evans (no, sadly not this one), a U.S. spinoff should be a piece of cake.