Do We Really Need Another Incarnation Of Top Gear USA?
Actually, it’s called Top Gear America nowby Kirby, on
In a move that comes as a surprise to a lot of people, BBC America has announced the return of Top Gear USA. I have an idea what the reaction is to this news. “Top Gear USA is gone?” To that I say “yes,” Top Gear USA - the same one that was hosted by Tanner Foust, Andrew Ferrara, and Rutledge Wood - ended its run on the History Channel in 2016 after finishing its contract with the network. The fact that the show wasn’t renewed speaks to how unfavorably it was received so it is a little surprising even to those who followed the show that BBC America is bringing the show back, rechristening it as Top Gear America.
But it’s true. Top Gear America is coming and it’s bringing with it a fresh cast of hosts headlined by William Finchter, the same guy who has starred in movies like Black Hawk Down, The Dark Knight, and Armaggedon and the TV show Prison Break. Joining Finchter will be three-time NHRA Top Fuel Division world champion and Tom “Wookie” Ford, the current Associate Editor of Top Gear Magazine and the former Road Test Editor of CAR Magazine. And, before his Chinese cousin starts beating us up, it’s best to mention that The Stig will also be part of the revamped show.
As far as the format goes, the show is expected to follow the traditional template of Top Gear, right down to the cars, the celebrities, and the all-too predictable mishaps that have become a staple of the show’s ethos. No timetable has been set for when the Top Gear America will make its debut, but we do know that it will now be shown on BBC America and not The History Channel.
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Star-power and chemistry are the keys to making Top Gear America work
Some people are probably going to be excited about the show’s return, but I’m holding some reservations until I see what kind of chemistry these three have. The lack of one was one of the reasons that doomed the last incarnation of the show and as the original Top Gear has shown us, chemistry among the hosts is arguably one of the most important elements in determining the show’s success or failure.
We all know what kind of chemistry Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond have, first on Top Gear and now on The Grand Tour. On the flip side, we also saw how brutal chemistry can torpedo the show no matter how knowledgeable the hosts are. If chemistry weren’t an issue, the OG Top Gear would probably still have Chris Evans at the helm.
Speaking of which, I wonder how BBC America ended up with Finchtner, Brown, and Wookie as the hosts of Top Gear America. With respect to those guys, I can’t understand why the BBC couldn’t get bigger and more established personalities than these guys. I like Antron Brown, but wouldn’t it have been better for the show’s appeal if they got one of the NASCAR guys as a host? Jeff Gordon, perhaps? Dale Earnhardt Jr.?
I’m pretty sure that those two names are a lot more known in mainstream American circles than Antron Brown. And while I’m at it, the choice to go with William Finchtner is just as curious because, well, I didn’t even know he was into cars. To be clear, I love the guy, especially in his role as Alex Mahone on Prison Break, but I probably would be a lot more intrigued if they got somebody like Jerry Seinfeld as the host. Not only is he one of the funniest celebrities in the business, he’s also an unabashed car enthusiast who isn’t afraid to speak his mind about this particular topic.
None of this matters now though because Finchtner, Brown, and Wookie have all signed up for the show. Here’s to hoping that they have much better chemistry than the trio they’re replacing. It’s not an admittedly high bar to attain, but I’m wishing them luck nonetheless.
Source: BBC America