History network orders American adaptation of Britain's 'Top Gear'
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/21/2010
History has announced it has ordered an American adaptation of Top Gear, a long-running British reality series that combines cars and comedy.
The series is currently slated to premiere this fall and will be hosted by comedian Adam Ferrara, champion rally and drift racer Tanner Foust, and racing analyst Rutledge Wood.
"History of the automobile and the history of America are intimately intertwined - to celebrate one is to celebrate the other," said History president Nancy Dubuc.
"I am thrilled to bring the U.S. version of this massively popular series to our viewers, working with the incredibly talented team at BBC Worldwide Productions. Top Gear is an intelligent, entertaining show - unique and groundbreaking in its format - a perfect match for us."
Top Gear, which first premiered in the U.K. back in 1977 before being relaunched in a revamped one-hour format in 2002, features several different types of regular segments that will be part of the show's stateside adaptation -- including super-cars, extreme stunts and challenges, car reviews, and celebrity interviews.
In addition, History's version will also document the history of the automobile.
"Top Gear has been one of the BBC's most successful formats globally and we are delighted to be partnering with History on a version for the U.S.," said BBC Worldwide programming executive Jane Tranter. "Together we have worked to tailor the format for the American audience, while staying true to the original dynamic that fans across the world have come to love."
NBC had ordered a pilot for an American adaptation of Top Gear in January 2008 and and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno host Jay Leno subsequently claimed he was approached by NBC to helmit but declined because of concerns "it would be impossible to recreate or live up to the standards of the British show."
The network eventually began production on it that June with Foust, comedian and former Dancing with the Stars sixth-season celebrity participant Adam Carolla, and construction guru Eric Stromer serving as hosts.
However NBC ultimately passed on the project in late 2008 and BBC subsequently began re-shopping the show to other networks.