By on April 10, 2008

neil1.jpgSo, radio funny guy Adam Carolla let the world know that he's one of the presenters of the new American Top Gear. And we can now, finally, confirm the rumor that drift king Tanner Faust is the Tiff Needel of the team. But the big news here is that NBC execs pulled L.A. Times auto writer Dan Neil from the U.S. show after a viewing his audition tape– despite a signed contract with the Pulitzer prize-winning critic. Neil says he's "very disappointed" with the network's decision, but understands their motivation. "They couldn't handle my heat," he joked. "Seriously. It's probably because I'm not very good on TV." The clock is ticking on finding Neil's replacement. Anyone heard anything?

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30 Comments on “U.S. Top Gear Scoop! Dan Neil Released from NBC Contract...”


  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Yes, I hear Ralph Nader is at the top of the A-list. Followed by Joan Claybrook, Clarence Ditlow, and Lee Iacocca.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    “They’re writing around the problem, by not doing car reviews unless they really love the car.”

    Um, doesn’t that make it more of an infomercial than a review? And I wonder, how many ad dollars will it take for them to love a car?

  • avatar
    polpo

    “They’re writing around the problem, by not doing car reviews unless they really love the car.”

    This better be a joke.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    Is Jason Priestly doing anything nowadays? We need a short, good looking guy. Tiff Needel is on Fifth Gear, will tanner be a track driver/host like Tiff or just the racing driver like (though not nearly as cool as)The Stig? Maybe Donald Trump; we could also use a slightly prissy guy with bad hair (here’s looking at you Captain Slow).

  • avatar
    Strippo

    “They’re writing around the problem, by not doing car reviews unless they really love the car.”

    The real Top Gear is least interesting when they “really love the car”. “It’s brilliant!” over and over gets on my nerves a lot more than “it’s absolute rubbish!” We’ve already got Speed’s Tommy Kendall for what they’re talking about doing. I like Kendall’s 30 minute car commercials when it’s for vehicles that interest me, but it ain’t Top Gear and doesn’t pretend to be.

    And I have seen Neil on television. To me his larger than life print persona just doesn’t come across on the small screen.

  • avatar

    “They’re writing around the problem, by not doing car reviews unless they really love the car.”

    Way to really stay close to the spirit of the original there NBC. I really hope they come to their senses, half the reason why I watch BBC Top Gear is to hear Clarkson tear a rubbish car to shreds.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “They’re writing around the problem, by not doing car reviews unless they really love the car.”

    That’s gonna be a lot of Corvette, BMW, Ferrari, and Porsche reviews.

    The only thing I look forward to on “US Top Gear” is a possible tug-of-war contest between a Ram 3500 and an Ariel Atom.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    When I got done with the STI I handed the keys to Tanner.

    Very good choice.

    Bummer about Neil, who would have provided…. credibility.

  • avatar

    polpo:

    This better be a joke.

    No joke. Although Neil says Carolla is the easily funniest guy in the room.

  • avatar
    crackers

    My understanding is that car companies are beginning to divert much of their advertising money away from traditional broadcasters. If too much money disappears, it might might actually be a good time for broadcasters to allow real reviews and tough commentary.

  • avatar
    John R

    This show is going to be g a r b a g e .

  • avatar
    Scudetto

    When you take out the lambasting of crap cars — like Hammond abandoning the pink Nissan Micra on the side of the road — you loose a key component of what makes Top Gear what it is. I’m keeping my expectations low.

  • avatar
    blautens

    Adam is funny – and he knows (and loves) cars. But if they tell the truth, review real, everyday cars – I just don’t see this working once the advertisers balk…

  • avatar
    TomAnderson

    “My understanding is that car companies are beginning to divert much of their advertising money away from traditional broadcasters. If too much money disappears, it might might actually be a good time for broadcasters to allow real reviews and tough commentary.”

    In that case, your friends and family should get used to you having puffed-up cheeks and a blueish complexion.

    Re Dan Neil: Having met him on a couple occasions (and watched him on TV and videos for LATimes.com), I can say he would have done alright. That being said, I’m kinda glad NBC dumped him rather than trying to “break him” to keep the sponsors happy. That way his credibility (of which he has a pretty high degree) can stay intact.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    (Sigh) You yanks can’t do anything right, can you…..? :O)

  • avatar
    joberg

    “(Sigh) You yanks can’t do anything right, can you…..? :O)”

    You don’t really want to go there KatiePuckrik…

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    i enjoy top gear because of the “challenges” they have. driving across africa in $1500 car! great stuff. the best driving road in the world was another amazing piece. its not really a “car review” i care about. there are SO many different places to get a car review i dont need another one. They can have a car come in each week, run around the test track and stick it on the board and i would be happy.

  • avatar

    Tanner Faust is annoying.

    I will not watch the show simply because he is on it.

  • avatar
    foolish

    You know, If they do the “Stig Tests,” the challenges, and the star in a reasonably priced car, it will still be the best American show about cars, even if it sucks as a version of “Top Gear.” I just hope the licensing deal doesn’t force British Top Gear off of BBC America. We finally got it, I don’t want it to go away. Watching it in grainy tiny-vision on you-tube is not as cool to me.

    Also, I’d love it if their Stig Tests were run at Laguna Seca. Just saying.

  • avatar
    foolish

    I think that calling it “Top Gear” may be the biggest problem they will have.

    People who don’t know the British show aren’t going to care what it’s called and will or won’t watch it based on the quality of the show.

    People who do know the British show aren’t going to be satisfied with an American version of it because no matter how good it is, it won’t be as good as the British version to people who love the British version for its British-ness.

  • avatar
    mxfive4

    Jonny Lieberman :
    April 10th, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Bummer about Neil, who would have provided…. credibility.

    Exactly, and without that credibility what’s left that MotorWeek and Kendell’s 30 minute infomercials don’t cover – juggy jokes?

    I think Adam Corolla is about as blah as the Toyota Corolla – I am thinking this will be on the Tivo for max – 3 weeks.

  • avatar
    John B

    “They’re writing around the problem, by not doing car reviews unless they really love the car.”

    I hope the program is renamed – Brown Nose Gear comes to mind. This is so pathetic it’s almost funny.

  • avatar
    pepperj

    The only way an American Top Gear could possibly be better is if it aired somewhere like HBO where the freedom exists to say what they want.

  • avatar
    kgriff1118

    Whatever happened to Ezra Dyer from Automobile being part of the show? And, why all the knocks against Carolla? Nobody has seen him in this context. Of course, he lost all credibility by doing Dancing with the Stars and growing the cheesy mustache.

  • avatar
    pepperj

    I can’t stand Adam Carolla either. Never have. His style of humor is completely different from anything British. On the other hand, if you look at the comedy that the U.S. produces, maybe that’s a good thing–demographics being what they are.

  • avatar

    It’s unfortunate because I’m sure that there are plenty of great writers and hosts (and even cars – despite Clarkson’s incessant, narcissistic degradation of any US nameplate) that could make this show great as a “Stateside” version. However the politics and the moneymen will surely ruin it for all.

    This could put the dagger in the coffin for the real Top Gear syndicated here in America… the Brits will pull it because we blithering twits in the States can’t touch anything without screwing it up. They could really stick it to us and ban YouTube’s clips.

    I think this officially earns it’s own topic: “Top Gear US Death Watch.”

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    I don’t know much about Adam Carolla other than his rubbish late night TV show, which was even lamer and moronic than other night TV ‘comics’ (Daily Show and Colbert excepted of course)

    there is already a model for USTG and that is the phallus slurping Car and Driver TV where every car ummm ‘tested’ has a Happy Ending.

    Funny, Tommy Kendall was on that show too. Mr Villeneurve would be a better option

    frankly as the popularity of TTAC shows some car outfits deserve to be pissed off. (Im looking at you, GM with your dumbarse pontiac G6 fliptop)

    But there is an alternative especially to grainy youtube clips – Bittorrents.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Carolla is a funny guy, but what cred does he have? They really need someone with a degree or something. A driver? A mechanic? Something.

  • avatar
    RayH

    The only way an American Top Gear could possibly be better is if it aired somewhere like HBO where the freedom exists to say what they want.
    I wonder if PBS wouldn’t be a good home for it. They have British stuff on PBS a lot, too. PBS is closer to BBC because of the Federal funding. Brings in more funds during pledge drives from a differnt demographic, too. Win-Win.

  • avatar
    JJ

    They could give the show some credibility by employing “The Stigs American cousin” as the US stig.

    Some say that he’s a CIA experiment that went wrong… and that he only eats cheese. All we know is he’s not the Stig, but he is the Stig’s American cousin. Big Stig!

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