The History Channel has renewed Top Gear, the American version of the long-running British car show, for a second season.
Top Gear has performed well, if not spectacularly, for the History Channel since its premiere last November. The combination of its recognizable brand name, hosts, guest stars and of course the cars themselves make for a compelling watch for gear-heads and pedestrians alike.
Rescue Me alum Adam Ferrara headlines as a host, while pro racer Tanner Foust and NASCAR analyst Rutledge Wood give more experienced commentary. Guests like Buzz Aldrin, Michelle Rodriguez and Tony Hawk provided a celebrity hook for most episodes, appearing next to their four-wheeled co-stars.
Matching the British version of Top Gear was no easy task, but the producers certainly led strong with various Lamborghinis and Dodge Vipers racing against an attack helicopter in a feat to match its progenitor's face-offs. A highlight for me was an episode featuring classic GM cars like the Cutlass and Fiero put through the ringer to decide which will return to production.
Of course, the stunts are only half the story: the hosts' analysis of new and upcoming cars is as topical as any Motor Trend article, and are much more entertaining. While Top Gear's freshman season only featured nine episodes and a clip show, fans can expect a full season when the show returns in the fall.
Top Gear is only one of the History Channel's myriad reality and competition-based shows. Other featured shows include the gun-slinging Top Shot, Pawn Stars and American Pickers, and consistent favorite Ice Road Truckers. The cable channel has been relying more and more on TLC and Discovery-style "unscripted" shows the last few years, making rivals for shows like American Chopper and Mythbusters.
Both mesh well with Top Gear's primary audience of 18-49 males who have DIY tendencies, and the original show's populartity on YouTube and other online networks was likely a major factor in A&E Television's decision to import it from the BBC. The original Top Gear has been in production since 1977, and has a worldwide audience in the hundreds of millions.
While the History Channel didn't announce any specific plans for season two, there's plenty of reason for fans to be excited. A full season order will likely come with an expanded budget, which means that you can expect the Top Gear regulars to play with even more expensive toys and rub elbows with more celebrities.
Top Gear will return to The History Channel in the fall of 2011.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter