TV

Is The New Top Gear A Complete Mess?

Earlier today it was announced that ‘Friends’ star and petrolhead Matt LeBlanc will join Chris Evans on the Top Gear reboot. Huh?

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We’re all familiar with LeBlanc’s previous appearances as a guest on the BBC motoring show, but naming the actor as a host feels a bit left field. The announcement comes after recent rumors that Chris Harris and Sabine Schmitz would join Evans as the show’s other new hosts. Neither have confirmed whether or not they’ll be taking part, but Schmitz did appear to be with Evans during a recent bout of car sickness on set. There have also been reports of unrest between show producers and Evans who wants the same creative control Jeremy Clarkson had at the helm. For obvious reasons, nervous BBC executives are keeping much tighter reigns on the reboot.

LeBlanc will join production immediately with the other hosts announced shortly. Clearly the BBC will be eager to get the show back on air before Clarkson, Hammond and May premier on Amazon Prime.

I’m not sure we needed another Top Gear reboot. Lets be honest, it was the chemistry between the three hosts that kept everyone coming back long after the show stopped being about cars. Even if the old show hadn’t come to the abrupt end that it did, it was already nearing the end of its run. With all the excellent automotive content online from /DRIVE, Harris himself, EVO and many others, this reboot feels a bit Top Gear Australia.

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What would the chemistry be like between LeBlanc, Harris, Schmitz and Evans? My first thoughts of Harris and Schmitz when thrown into the rumor mill were that they were too good for Evans who seems more content looking at cars than driving them. It’s the most coveted gig in the automotive world, however the BBC seems like they need this to be a hit a little too badly, they seem a bit desperate.

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Ultimately the fans will decide if the new Top Gear is worth watching. I joined Amazon Prime last month.

Photos courtesy of BBC & Amazon.

NBC’s Mystery F1 Pit Lane Reporter

While most of us were excited to hear that Formula 1 would take its talents to NBC Sports, there was some concern about the broadcast team. NBC made the right decision in quickly hiring SPEED’s team of commentators including David Hobbs and Steve Matchett. Leigh Diffey will take over for Bob Varsha as the group’s ring leader, but there’s still been some speculation over the future of pit lane reporter Will Buxton.

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Last night Diffey posted this photo on Twitter, from an NBC production dinner in New York. You’ll notice one member of the team shielding his face with a menu. We can only presume that it’s Mr. Buxton, whose kept quiet about his next move, since it was announced on Twitter that he’d be fired from SPEED. Since then Buxton has gained lots of support from  fans here in the United States and it would be fantastic to see him join the rest of the team at NBC next season.

NBC has the opportunity to sell F1 to an American audience. Where SPEED’s broadcast was a bit of a joke and the antithesis of the slick productions from the BBC and Sky Sports, NBC can change all of that. The network has a wealth of knowledge and experience in Steve Matchett, who is arguably the most underrated broadcaster in the sport. With Will Buxton, they have the opportunity to appeal to a much younger audience than the sport has previously attracted. That’s something that needs to happen if F1 hopes to have a future in the United States. By taking itself more seriously and gearing the broadcast to existing fans, NBC has every chance of becoming a success. None of us need to hear what DRS stands for, 250 times throughout a race.

Photo courtesy of Leigh Diffey.