BBC America is doubling down on “Top Gear.”
The network is adding an American version of its popular car and racing show to its lineup that still includes the original British “Top Gear,” now in its 24th season. “Top Gear America” will premiere later this year with eight hour-long episodes.
As with the original, “Top Gear America” will be presented by a trio of hosts that include “The Dark Knight” actor, car nut and competitive racer William Fichtner; world champion drag racer Antron Brown and premier British automative journalist Tom “Wookie” Ford. (Incidentally, that is a misspelled reference to the “Star Wars” race of Wookiee.)
Ford is extending his relationship to the “Top Gear” brand and BBC America. He is currently the Associate Editor of Top Gear Magazine, and contributes to both TopGear.com and The Sunday Times. He has also appeared on BBC America’s “Mud, Sweat and Gears.”
“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,” said the network’s president Sarah Barnett. “Bill, Antron and Wookie are serious gearheads who never take themselves too seriously. It will be quite the trip.”
“Top Gear America” will continue the tradition of reviewing exclusive and state-of-the-art vehicles but also delves into significant cars from America’s past. Each week, a new celebrity will compete for the best time on the “Top Gear” studio and track, Speed Vegas. Here’s hoping the show locks down Charlize Theron for an appearance.
This isn’t the first attempt at a stateside “Top Gear.” History had a six-season run that ended in 2016.
As for the original long-running version, it’s gone through various changes after the controversial dismissal of Jeremy Clarkson and subsequent exodus of his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May. Replacement host Chris Evans (not the “Captain America” actor) only stuck it out after one season. The current season with Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid is chugging along on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on BBC America.