Which brings me back to my original plea. Top Gear has been very successful for BBC World. Their accountants have recognised this and sold the name on to a number of franchisees without really applying any quality control (Top Gear Australia being the oldest and best example of this).
So why did it take so long to get into the biggest television market in the world? And then stick it on a relatively un-watched channel?
They are playing us for suckers and if you don't think this is all just a cynical money grab, answer me this. Why did BBC World sell the rights to Top Gear on to (big bucks commercial) channel 9 in Australia .. after (non-commercial publicly funded) SBS had done all the hard work and brought Top Gear to the publics attention?
Again, TGUS was stuck on a channel which its previous biggest draw was one Ronald Lee Ermey.
These foreign franchises could be OK TV. But I believe they will only achieve watch-ability when they loose the name Top Gear, stop trying to be Top Gear, and evolve a style and format that is comfortable to the presenters, writers, producers etc rather than follow a unique recipe they can never satisfactorily replicate.
I'm not sure about TGA, but TGUS is produced by Andy Wilman. I hear he's done something of similar fashion before.