Top Gear UK hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

The good news is that Top Gear is coming. The bad news is that Top Gear is coming.

Rather than do something sensible and import the series as-is with some re-recorded new material (like that nefarious Derren Brown-type person) but the same hosts, they're going to try and do an American version. Which has been a successful ploy for The Office and... um... hmm. Oh well. Just The Office. Oh sure, there were others, but I think you have to go back to Sanford and Son to find another. And yes, I'm excluding game shows from that snide remark.

Anyway, here's what they have to say for themselves:

"Since its revival over five years ago, the UK show has been a phenomenal success. The bar has been set so high, that replicating it will be the challenge -- one we truly relish," said Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President Content and Production for BBC Worldwide Americas. "Casting is well underway and we are confident that Americans will fall in love with the attitude and irreverent spirit of 'Top Gear.'"

Americans already have. That's why the guys' ill-fated trip through Alabama went viral and everybody over here talks about it. But it's those guys in the picture that really make it work.

When we were hoping the strike would force the networks to import some quality TV from Britain, this isn't exactly what we had in mind. Anyway, full press release after the break. Read it and weep.

Start Your Engines! NBC Orders Pilot for International Hit Series 'Top Gear' From BBC Worldwide America

BURBANK, Calif., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- NBC has ordered a pilot for the international hit series "Top Gear" from BBC Worldwide America it was announced today by Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. The world's leading car series franchise features unique celebrity guest participation and high-adrenaline action entertainment.

"'Top Gear' is a proven international hit which fits perfectly into NBC's line-up of programming with male appeal, including 'Sunday Night Football' and 'American Gladiators,'" said Silverman. "We're always looking for innovative ways to partner with our advertisers and this show offers a great platform for the latest in car culture."

"We've had our eye on 'Top Gear' for a while now and think this show can really click with viewers," added Craig Plestis, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, Development and Specials, NBC Entertainment. "The concept taps into America's obsession with cars and is unlike anything else on television."

"Since its revival over five years ago, the UK show has been a phenomenal success. The bar has been set so high, that replicating it will be the challenge -- one we truly relish," said Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President Content and Production for BBC Worldwide Americas. "Casting is well underway and we are confident that Americans will fall in love with the attitude and irreverent spirit of 'Top Gear.'"

One of the UK's most popular all-time television franchises, "Top Gear" will feature super-cars, extreme stunts and challenges, time trials and road tests, and assess the performance of some of the most ordinary and extraordinary cars on the planet.

The series, which premiered in the UK in 1977, is consistently BBC TWO's most-watched program in the UK. "Top Gear" also reaches over 150 million households globally and made its stateside debut on BBC America in 2007.

"Top Gear" has been the recipient of various awards including National Television Awards, BAFTAs, Broadcast Award, Royal Television Society Awards and an International Emmy Award. Top celebrity guests have included Helen Mirren, Hugh Grant, Simon Cowell, Ewan McGregor and Gordon Ramsay.

BBC Worldwide America recently wrapped "Clash of the Choirs," a successful four-night live event for NBC. The company is currently producing the first season of "Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann" and will begin the sixth season of "Dancing with the Stars" in March.

About BBC Worldwide America:

BBC Worldwide America has headquarters in New York and Los Angeles, and brings together all of BBC Worldwide's businesses in the U.S. BBC Worldwide is the main commercial arm and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company exists to maximize the value of the BBC's assets for the benefit of the UK license payer and invest in public service programming in return for rights. The company has six core businesses: Global Channels, Global TV Sales, Content & Production, Home Entertainment, Digital Media and Magazines.

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