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Top Gear USA
Posted December 22nd, 2005 at 18:11 by Viper007Bond in Top Gear US

As many of you may know, Top Gear aired for a while on the Discovery channel here in America. It was just normal UK episodes, but with refilmed studio bits featuring less America bashing, the use of things like “gasoline” rather than “petrol”, etc. Many of you also know that episodes stopped airing on Discovery earlier this year.

Rumors had been flying about as to why, but the most popular one was that Discovery had decided to start from scratch and do an entirely American version of Top Gear. Well, this turned out to be just the case. In the last Top Gear magazine, many new juicy details were revealed about the upcoming show.

Here is the article for those who don’t get the magazine (thanks to zenkidori for the transcription):

The Top Gear telly programme has quietly become a global phenomenon. Recent figures suggested an extraordinary viewership, something in the region of one billon people across the globe. This explains why Jeremy gets mobbed on the streets of Dubai, why Richard Hammond is swooned over by housewives in Auckland and why James May will shortly appear on a series of commemorative stamps in Luxembourg. Probably. Only one country has been strangely resistant to the charms of three blokes cocking about in an old aircraft hangar – the United States of America.

Untill now. Earlier this year, Discovery decided they wanted in on the Top Gear action, starting with 18 repackaged programmes using existing items from TG UK. Accordingly, our pluckly lads spent five days at the Top Gear base recording new studio linkds in a more American-friendly way. Basically, getting Jeremy not to call them fat and stupid. This, however, was a mere entree for Discovery’s main plan: to make thier own version of Top Gear on US soil. Thier own studio, thier own test track, even – since our boys were too busy and anyway James May doesn’y like places that don’t server a decent cup of tea – thier own presenters.

That’s why earlier this eyar a brand new TG USA production team assembleddeep in the Mojave desert to create a pilot show for thier version of Britain’s favourite almost-BAFTA-winning car programmer. And, liker thier idea of what constitues a decent cup of coffee, the American take on Top Gear wasn’t entirely the same as ours. Instead of a shabby hangar and a track built around arifield taxiways, they got a pit garage and a proper circuit. Instead of filling the studio with 200 grunting Subaru drivers, they did without an audience. And instead of The Tall One, The Short One and The Other Oen, they hired three rather different American presenters. Bruno, a professional drag racer with casual tales of crashing at 230mph. John, the super keen jock, blessed with quaint ‘sir and m’am’ good manners that only Americans can do. And, Johnny, a former reality show winner with a nice line in wierd humor.

Fortunatly some reference points remained, including Star In A Reasonably Priced Car. But, to set the power laps, there could be no substitue – the Stig was flown to the US and stunned everyone with his blistering pace as he hammered the CLS55, Charger, and Mustang round the circuit.

After two days’ shooting, the show that popped out of the other end was something familiar and yet rather different. For one thing, filming in sunshine gives the show a glossy feel a million miles from another drizzle sodden canter down a runway in Surrey. And shouting “Bring on the Stig” just sounds cooler in an American accent.

If Discovery likes the pilot show, a series will follow in 2006. Then Americans can enjoy a weekly shot of Top Gear, just like the rest of the world.

Now let’s all cross our fingers and hope that Discovery decides to pick it up! Sure, it won’t have Jeremy and the gang, but hopefully it’ll retain enough of the original show to still be good. :)

Edit: If you’d like to discuss this, check out this thread in the forum.

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