So the BBC, in their infinite wisdom, seems to think that telling the public one thing will make it believe that without even looking into the matter further. Seems to be SOP for the media giant. According to reports, the BBC is saying that season (or series in UK speak) 23, the newest iteration, did better globally than season 22 of old Top Gear with Clarkson, Hammond, and May.
This is pretty laughable for numerous reasons. First and foremost should be blindingly obvious. It’s the fact that the last season of old TG, season 22, was shortened and didn’t have Clarkson in the last episode due to the fracas and his dismissal. The ratings dropped because the last 3 episodes were in turmoil and had to be delayed. When you’re off rhythm, you’re going to have ratings drops.
Second is also pretty ridiculous, but in a totally different way. Of COURSE people were going to tune in to the new version. They wanted to see how it evolved with Evans, Leblanc, and the rest of the cast that was double in size to the last one. People wanted to see the train wreck and they couldn’t look away. Well, until after the first episode anyway.
Here’s the BBC’s take on it.
Chris Evans’ Top Gear may have been a ratings flop in the UK, but abroad it is proving to be a bigger hit than Jeremy Clarkson’s version of the show.
Top Gear is considered to be the BBC’s biggest global brand with sales of the TV show, DVDs, books, live shows and other merchandise thought to be worth more than £50m a year.
The head of the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, has said Top Gear remains on track as an international brand.
The Chris Evans version is also a much more friendly version of the show as Clarkson has ruffled feathers all over the world, thus making it more difficult to sell into different territories. To say this new version of Top Gear was better globally is complete rubbish, to be honest, and is just a way for the BBC to justify the ratings losses. To say it was a global hit is misleading and wrong. So don’t believe the hype here.
“I am very happy with programme sales,” said the BBC Worldwide chief executive, Tim Davie. “[Chris Evans’s Top Gear] has sold into over 130 territories which is very strong and marginal growth versus the previous season [Clarkson’s last].”
Davie said that although there had been “ups and downs” with Top Gear’s ratings, the show remains a financial cash cow.
“It is absolutely the case I think that Top Gear remains in very good health,” he said. “It is a work in progress and we will have to see how it goes. I remain optimistic about Top Gear and its growth potential over the coming years.”
To me, this seems like the BBC is just grasping at straws to show the world that they didn’t make a massive mistake and that the show wasn’t as bad as we all perceived. Guess what, it was that bad. Thankfully, Evans is gone and with Harris and Reid getting more air time, the second season of the TG reboot looks much more promising. We’ll be watching, but we’ll also take it with a much different grain of salt this time.