Top Gear USA Episode Two Sees Drastic Drop in Ratings

Top Gear USA Episode Two Sees Drastic Drop in Ratings

Let’s face it, Top Gear USA was never destined to be the hit that the original U.K version is. Why? No Jeremy Clarkson and no dry British humor with an equally entertaining accent.

Still, the team at Top Gear USA is off to a rough start. After the initial episode drew just under 2 million viewers for its debut episode of the History channel, this week’s program attracted just 1.275 million viewers, a decrease of 625,000.

To make matters worse, the show leading up to Top Gear USA was Ice Road Truckers, which drew an audience of 1.978 million viewers – meaning a lot of folks switched-off when Top Gear came on. Or perhaps they just switched over to another channel: AMC’s The Walking Dead dew 5.5 million viewers, and even Bravo’s the Real Housewives of Atlanta caught the attention of 3.2 million sets of eyeballs.

[Source: InsideLine]

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  • LouLucy

    To keep it in perspective Top Gear attracted the youngest male audience for a series premiere in History’s history so the network is very happy with the results. As well, there is always drop off after a series premiere.

  • slocal

    I’m happy with their 2nd episode. They’re starting to develop chemistry among each other. The warehouse may be scripted, but the jokes on the tarmac come off as natural and funny.

    TG:UK took a long while before it got to be what it is. 1.275m viewers is actually pretty large in the cable market. James May was an embarrassment at first. He was awkward and couldn’t drive (yes, he was actually worse than he is now).

    Your article screams of someone that’s new to TG altogether.

  • d l warnick

    The drifter (which is not real racing) should go back to whatever he was doing, and Rutledge Wood should go back to his computer games and Star Trek conventions. Wood may know cars but he is such a geek, while the drifter is apparently convinced that he is hot shit. Jeremy Clarkson leaves you with the feeling that he knows a Montrachet from a Modigliani, and can appreciate both, while Wood comes across as comic books and Mountain Dew. The attempts at humor would have to mature to be sophomoric and are obviously aimed at the 12 – 14 year-old demographic. This whole thing is so pathetic.

  • GIE

    If they wanted to make a good show they would have gotten real journalist. Peter Egan would easily be the us version of captain slow. He really likes to enjoy the drive. The Amercian version of Ricard Hammond would proably be Dan Neil. And the comedic voice drive the show should be Jeff McGregor, he knows cars and is funny. All three have won awards for auto journalism. This would fix the whole show.

  • MIke

    I agree that real journalists would have been best. I also think Ezra Dyer from Automobile Magazine would have been good. He seems to have a quick wit and a good sense of humor. That said, I still watch the US version every week because it beats any other automotive programming on the tube. Also, TGUK was not great when it started, so I think this on will pick up speed. If they would do “the news” maybe we could see some looser interaction between the hosts. In the end, it is still better than the Aussie version.

  • andy

    the new us version of top gear sucks. the three talentless morons on it should be ashamed and should be fired now. YOU THREE HAVE DESTROYED A GREAT SHOW AND ONCE AGAIN YOU SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Thomas

    I honestly don’t think they’re doing too bad for a first season.

    Yes, Rutledge Wood is overly geeky and a little out of place, but I think that could actually be his justification to be there if he builds on it. Adam Ferrara is great, definitely a keeper. Tanner Foust on the other hand I agree should just ‘drift away’, the sooner the better. Top Gear is supposed to be funny and unpretentious. Everything Tanner isn’t. But one replacement – preferably for an actual quality journo with a knack for self-depreciation – for next season is not bad at all and will allow for good continuity.

    Above all, the producers have not fallen for the trap of recreating a US version of the personalities and dynamic on real TG – that is impossible – but are betting on a unique US flavored dynamic evolving. Which I think it will. Unfortunately they HAVE fallen into the trap the UK show is also increasingly stumbling into – overscripting. If a segment needs to be overly scripted, like the one with the Cobra helicopter so absolutely came across as, the core idea probably wasn’t all that good to start with.

    But all in all, not bad. Surprisingly not bad.

  • KY

    I actually thought episode two was a little better than ep 1. Mainly because they seemed to pull Adam Ferrara almost entirely out of the episode. Tanner’s fine and Rutledge is growing on me. Just replace Ferrara with Adam Carolla (who’s the closest person i can think of to an American Clarkson), and I’ll be happy.

  • Dan Druff

    The problem with the show is the afformentioned chemistry-there simply is none. I suffered through the first show, and it was a struggle to watch it to the end, but struggle I did. It was as though these three individuals were literally thrown into a room before the cameras were switched on while someone yelled “swim!” To call it insufferable is an insult to the word insufferable. The core issue is that with Clarkson, May, and to a lesser extent Hammond, you don’t expect these three somewhat prim and proper English gents to be blasting ’round the countryside powersliding anything they can get behind the wheel of, or turning Reliant Robins on their sides at the drop of a hat-it just seems a bit out of place with the uk guys. On the other hand, with these three dorks on the usa version, it seems like that’s what they would be doing, if they weren’t attemping to bother and bore u.s. audiences once a week for ten dreadful weeks. it’s just not that far fetched with them. Add in that smarmy british attitude, and the incredibly witty sense of humor, and it’s no small wonder the brit version slaps the u.s. version silly. Sorry guys-it just won’t do-u.s. coupling didn’t work, i’m afraid this won’t either……

  • Brian

    I was skeptical at first, but the hosts seem to be clicking more than they did initially. Adam Ferrara is great; I think he helps smooth out most of the awkwardness in the show. In fairness, it may take time for the U.S. version to “ferment” to the quality of the British version.

  • Ennis

    You can’t really rate a show like this at least until the 5 episode mark maybe even after the first season. Chemistry is a hard thing to get right. The BBC Top Gear with the Clarkson and the gang was just as contrived as this in it’s first show. I say we let them get a few shows under their belts and then decide. Hopefully The History Channel will allow them to find their way then decide about the show.

  • Tracey

    Sorry, but as a long time viewer of the UK original, I’m not about to give this show five or six episodes to ‘find itself.’ If it were brand new, okay, but how do you screw up a ‘remake’ who’s wildly successful original is starring you in the face? The first show was a disaster – a 60 minute automotive lecture by three hosts with little if any personality or chemistry. As I type this, the ‘james bond’ theme show is playing in the background. The commentary is boring, the references cliched and unimaginative, the set up a loose retread of the original (Mitusubishi EVO races skiers – remember the winter olympics show?), and I neither know nor care which host is narrating (I can’t tell them apart by voice at this point).
    I was more than willing to give the show a shot, and did not expect to be as great as the original out of the box. But this is such a pale attempt, I won’t waste my time.
    Back to the episode – the down hill run by the EVO is skiers is actually pretty good – until Adam starts talking, and it falls flat. I’m changing channels now.

  • James

    What were they thinking with this? It’s as though they said, “Let’s make this exactly like the British version, only let’s make everything that was great about it totally suck this time around.”

    First, the hosts are absolutely godawful. Who wouldn’t want to see a car show with Jackie the Jokeman, a 19-year-old Deliverance extra, and a champion donut performer? I can kind of forgive Tanner, but who ARE these other two clowns? They’ve got the charisma of a cigarette butt floating in a cup of piss.

    And just because we’re in America doesn’t mean you have to countrify everything. What next, turn a Bugatti Veyron into a monster truck and race Kid Rock to a Waffle House? They even managed to screw up the test track — could they have found a crappier, bumpier, more cobbled together piece of crap with a more distracting background and more obscured sightlines? You can’t even tell what’s going on until the car finishes.

    The producers copied everything, but understood nothing, about the original show and why it’s successful. Season One and done, and we’ll forget this ever happened.

  • Mike Tabachka

    The ratings are not doing well because of the time and day its on its on at the same time as The Walking Dead on AMC(witch broke a cable record) and Broadwalk Empire on HBO. TopGear USA needs to be on during the week Tuesday,Wednesday, or Thursday what were you thinking putting it on Sunday

  • David D.

    I happened upon it while channel surfing – at first I thought it was a youtube spoof – then I realized it was not! The UK crew must think we be idiots!

  • Dan Druff

    james, you hit it right on the head with your rant-beautifully done! spot on with the test track, although i might have suggested running over kid rock on the way to the waffle house-a much better idea. not so that he would die right off-he should suffer while he dies as we have listening to the rot he produces. but i digress-excuse me while i hide from the helicopter in this car wash…kinda wishing they had gone live with the ammo at that point….

  • Genghis the Great

    The Top Gear website has been promoting the show for a while and through Twitter, so it is inevitable that curious people like myself had to sneak a view of it from the other side of the pond. Reading the comments here (I particularly like the comment of throwing three guys in front of a camera and shouting ‘action’) highlights a lot of the fundamental flaws of the US version and also some fair commentary of the UK programme and its presenters in the early days. I think to give context to knowledge versus passion you need to remember that both May and Clarkson were (and still are) long-time motoring journalists, easily clocking up a decade’s worth of experience each, before they ever set foot in front of a camera. They could reel off useless stats about piston lengths and what the R stands for in model designations of specific Porsches’. Hammond was a radio journalist for many years until his move to Top Gear so all have cut their teeth in the media. Whereas Ferrera is a comedian, Foust is a stunt driver (although that didn’t do former race car driver Tiff Needell – former TG presenter now on Fifth Gear – any harm) and while Wood is an ‘analyst’ for the Speed Channel – he is no journalist – more like a data bitch. BUT at the same time I think the fault also lies with the BBC and perhaps Clarkson and his producer friend Andy Wilman – who effectively reinvented Top Gear in to the format it is today. They sold rights to make this programme so therefore should have perhaps had tighter quality control on all elements – from the test track, the interview format, and most importantly – the presenters. I believe the US team have filmed segments in the UK testing cars like the Morgan, so hopefully they’ll have taken a leaf out of Mssrs Clarkson, May and Hammond on how to ‘talk to’ rather than at the camera. It might also do them some good to watch a few episodes of UK Top Gear! Also stop medicating the crowd – they look like they are on 10mg of Diazepam!

  • Chris

    I think Top Gear US is doing very well and after a rough start I actually find the two (Tanner & Rutledge) decently amusing, the other guy (Adam) not so much – I think the ratings is in the cars and not so much the talk show portion – for what its worth there isn’t another auto show on the market that is entertaining as this one –

    Auto.TV on verizon is HORRIBLE and only plays three shows and repeats them daily, Speed has Supercar challenge which is ok, (again with Tanner involved) but gets boring quickly using only two cars the entire epidode, other than that what show reviews cars, and tests them in such a unique way as Top Gear does?

    Give it a chance and I hope they will be doing a season 2!!

  • David R

    I totally agree with what most of you are saying, when i heard there was going to be an American top gear i was exited to see what they had to offer, i was looking forward to seeing more American cars getting tested because the UK version doent show many of those… however, now that the season is over and the only cool new American car they showed was the Viper… which isnt even a 2010/11 car… I find it kind of ridiculous they didnt do a test of any new American cars such as: the 2011 Mustang 5.0, Camaro, or the redesigned Charger.

    Furthermore the last episode of the season was garbage. seriously airing a “best of” episode to end it off was a bigger mistake than having the “southern man”character be “Rutlege Wood”. Also, it would have made it much better to cast a member who was more like “Joe dirt” that would be interesting!

    On the good side however i did love the Alaska special, i think they did an awesome job of that episode. It made me just want to get out and drive. Also as “chris” pointed out that its alot better than any other car show out there (other than the original top gear).

    Im looking forward to see what they will come up with for next season!

  • car fan

    listening that fat fucking piece of shit should go back to video games and nights alone and leave the cars to the real men I hate don t know him but I honestly hate him thanks for ruining a good show its all his fault

  • Paul in Canada


  • rabbit

    i dont know what is wrong with you morons. i love both TOP GEAR USA & UK.

  • Strange Jerry

    I get the same feeling watching Top Gear as I get watching Pat Boone sing “Tutti Frutti”….