Top Gear America To Reboot On BBC America This Year

: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

In what is quite a surprise, Top Gear announced that a new American version of the iconic television show will premiere later this year.

When it was announced in 2016 that Top Gear on History Channel had been canceled, most thought that was the end of it. If you add in the troubles the BBC is having with its flagship Top Gear, a reboot seemed out of the question. Then yesterday the BBC announced an all-new Top Gear America is to launch in 2017.

With new presenters and a closer format to the BBC version, they are giving it a go. The BBC’s Top Gear holds the Guinness record for the most territories in syndication at 212. The show has also spawned several spin-offs in several countries around the world with limited success. Now they are giving it a second try here in the USA.

The presenters for the new show are about as different a crowd as you could assemble. Current NHRA Top Fuel Champion Antron Brown, actor William Fichtner, and Top Gear’s own Tom Ford. One of the defining traits of Top Gear has been the differences in its presenters. If that is what they were going for, they knocked this out of the park.

On top of being the Current, and two-time defending, NHRA Top Fuel Champion, Antron Brown is a crowd favorite. His springboard to NHRA stardom was made in the Pro Motorcycle category winning 16 Wally’s. Once he made the jump to Top Fuel with Don Schumacher, the championships came. The New Jersey native is one of the faces of the NHRA and very good on television.

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William Fichtner’s film career is as diverse as the cast of Top Gear. From oddball comedy like Blades of Glory and Drowning Mona, to action flicks like Armageddon and Black Hawk Down, Fichtner has quite the range. His recent excellent portrayals of villains make him a very interesting choice. The real question is his improv ability that makes Top Gear special. Calling Buffalo New York his home, Fichtner is a car collector and an NFL fan. He narrated the recent ESPN 30 for 30 special on the four Bills Super Bowl defeats.

The most surprising presenter is Top Gear Magazine and’s Tom Ford. Noted journalist, and respected car enthusiast, he will bring a wealth of knowledge to the show. His abilities on camera are the wild card here. Having a member of BBC’s Top Gear family on the show will ensure a tie to the original that was missing from History Channel’s version.

As a fan of the prior version of Top Gear America, I am disappointed this reboot is coming so quickly. After several format changes, the show was gaining traction in the ratings but was unable to avoid cancellation. I know the presenters of that show had continued to try and shop their version to other outlets to no avail.

The overwhelming success of The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime in the USA might have something to do with this. Top Gear on BBC America has a large following, but very short seasons. Adding the American Top Gear will provide more programming for us American car junkies. As a Top Gear fan, I will give it a shot and hope for the best.

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The success of the show will be hard to quantify. Since BBC America does not subscribe to Nielsen services, television ratings will not be available. That might be a good thing and allow the show to grow and get its feet. As always, I want more car shows. Hopefully, American Top Gear gives us another great show to watch.