As we all know Top Gear USA just finished their premier season and lets just say the reviews are mixed. Trying to replicate the proven UK formula is not an easy task, but for US viewers the green behind the ears show is the only option for true car guys/gals until now. Today we had the pleasure of being on set for the filming of the pilot for Speed’s new automotive based program called “The Car Show”. Formerly referred to as Adam Carolla’s “Best Damn Car Show” it features Carolla of course, Wall Street Journal auto writer Dan Neil, John Salley of the ’96 Chicago Bulls, and Matt Farah, host of the online video program “The Smoking Tire.” The program is set to be a direct competitor to History’s Top Gear USA. The format features in studio sections and interviews combined with on road/track driving sections.
In the parking lot waiting to be let into the studio a quick survey of the cars driven by the pilot’s audience and I knew this group was a bunch of gear heads. A modded E92 M3, a C6 Corvette, a Tesla, a Jaguar XKR, a modded Evo X, and a Ferrari 458 lined the lot. I really did not know what to expect entering the set. I knew both Carolla and Farah are funny guys that are good on camera, but I had not seen much of Neil or Salley prior to the taping. Also with four host and a brand new show I was really not sure how they would all interact.
In the first segment filmed all four host sat at a table, in a similar fashion to “The Best Damn Sports Show”, to discuss current automotive topics. The first couple of minutes of taping were a little stiff, but soon the joke cracking and smack talking began. Carolla, the ever sharp and quick witted car guy, guides the gang into great discussions of automotive debate. The dynamic was stellar and hugely entertaining. The mix of talent and car knowledge allows the content to appeal to a broad group of viewers.
To start, Dan Neil is the intelligent car nerd of the group who brings to the table years of experience as an automotive journalist for the LA Times and now the Wall Street Journal.
Adam Carolla, the resident funny man, keeps the conversation light with injections of humor.
John Salley is kind of the odd man out in the car knowledge department, but more than makes up for it with a more common mans approach. Giving the less car knowledgeable audience members a way to relate.
Last but certainly not least is Matt Farah, host of the hit web series “The Smoking Tire.com”, who is kinda like your neighborhood car guru. Farah is a guy who washes his food down with motor oil, but is funny, easy to connect with, and says exactly what is on his mind.
During discussion the dialog between the host had the whole audience bursting with laughter. While they may not have all worked together before you would never know it watching the show. This type of genuine trash talking and strong differences in opinion is the dynamic glue that makes Top Gear UK such a hit.
Now while I am not allowed to talk about the content of the segments we saw at the filming. I am allowed to give you my opinion on the quality of the segments I did get a chance to see. The quality of the cinematography is amazing. On par with the boys from the UK. The clips were entertaining and left me wanting to see more of the finished product. Being a car show, viewers can look forward to comparison test, new car reviews, challenges, and event pieces. Of course each segment would not be complete without some trash talking and name calling.
At the end of the 6 hour taping I left thoroughly impressed and very excited to see this show make it to a full series on Speed. Having seen Top Gear USA and Top Gear Australia I can honestly say The Car Show pilot was way more enjoyable to watch and much more entertaining. So I plead to Speed, PLEASE MAKE THIS SHOW!