If you're an American reader you've no doubt heard this news by now. For everyone else in the world though, you my be interested to note that our 'Murican friends have scored themselves a Top Gear franchise of their own, with three very distinct personalities to host it.
First off there's Adam Carolla, who many of you may remember as one of the hosts of the largely forgettable The Man Show, whose central themes revolved around excessive alcohol consumption and breasts. Carolla's an avid car buff though, and one who's demonstrated an extensive knowledge of cars while presenting his radio show in the US. He's also got an impressive collection of vintage Datsuns and Nissans, which definitely wins him points in my book. He's prone to the odd bout of hilarity too, so I guess that puts him in the "Jeremy Clarkson" role. Big shoes to fill indeed.
Next up is Tanner Foust, a professional racer who does the occasional Hollywood stunt driving gig when he's not getting sideways in Formula Drift, America's own drifting series. You may have seen his work in The Bourne Ultimatum, The Dukes of Hazard and The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift. He's a guy who can definitely drive and no doubt he'll be the one who takes a more objective route when reviewing cars, but can he be funny and entertaining at the same time?
Lastly, we've got Eric Stromer. I'll forgive you if you haven't heard of him before, because I sure as hell hadn't before today either. Apparently he's a bit of a DIY legend back in his homeland and hosts a number of home improvement-type shows... and has absolutely nothing to do with cars whatsoever. He drives a Camry Hybrid too, which probably gives you a rather accurate view on what he looks for in a car - practicality, frugality and an ability to bore the pants off the driver. He's a confusing pick, but given his handsomely chiseled looks and whitened teeth (Hammond, is that you?) it's a fair bet the producers are counting on him to draw in some female viewers. Interestingly, Stromer also hosts his own DIY advice segment on Adam Carolla's radio show. Was Stromer's appointment to Top Gear America a case of some serious string-pulling on Carolla's behalf? Nobody knows, but it sure would explain a lot.
So, is Top Gear America onto a winning combination with this bunch? Time will tell, but I'm not so sure it'll work out anywhere near as well as the British Top Gear. The original Top Gear started out way before James, Jeremy and Richard ever arrived on the scene and went through a number of presenter combinations before the dynamic threesome that currently host it came together. There are also some fundamental differences between the British hosts and those of the American version: The British ones all began their careers as journalists and know what makes a compelling story. The American team are essentially entertainers, and while they may be able to tell jokes on cue there's no guarantee they'll be able to bring any depth to the show. My guess is that it'll tank, and fairly quickly too. It'll be no real loss though, as it seems that the original British show will endure forever. And besides, there's also our very own Top Gear Australia to look forward to.