Nine reveals lineup for Top Gear Australia

Top gear Australia logo mumbrellaNine has announced the presenter lineup for a local edition of Top Gear – confounding industry speculation that the network would not make a local version but instead rely on a series of Australian specials featuring the British hosts.

Kenny star Shane Jacobson, Top Gear magazine editor-in-chief Ewen Page and racing driver Steven Pizzati will front the show.  

Pizzati is the only survivor of the SBS lineup of Top Gear Australia.

The first series, broadcast in 2008, saw Pizzati host with Warren Brown and Charlie Cox.

The second series saw Cox replaced by trumpeter James Morrison.

The first series of eight episodes debuted for SBS with just over 900,00 viewers before settling at around 650,000. the second series – also eight episodes – gradually declined to below 500,000 viewers.

Nine outbid SBS for Top Gear in October last year. The deal included both the free-to-air rights for the British edition of Top Gear and a local edition.

Because of the expense involved, rumours had been growing within the industry in recent weeks that Nine would rely on putting the British presenters such as Jeremy Clarkson in cars with contracted network talent such as Shane Warne and do a small number of Australian specials rather than a full series.

But local production begins today “in a secret location”.

Michael Healy, Nine’s director of programming, said: “We look forward to welcoming the Top Gear Australia crew to the network. Shane, Ewen and Steve as hosts will provide the passion, humour and skill to bring a real Australian feel to the Top Gear phenomenon.”

Top Gear is being produced by Freehand for the Nine Network and BBC Worldwide.


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