Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
12/12/08 8:51 a.m.

With a tip o' the hat to Stuart in MN, who found this:

http://jalopnik.com/5108040/nbc-cuts-top-gear-usa-due-to-knight-rider-failure?skyline=true&s=i

Personally, I think if they viewed the failure of Knight Rider as any indication of the market for Top Gear, they never really understood Top Gear in the first place.

Ian F
Ian F Reader
12/12/08 8:58 a.m.
Tim Baxter wrote: Personally, I think if they viewed the failure of Knight Rider as any indication of the market for Top Gear, they never really understood Top Gear in the first place.

Agree 100%.

I think the problem with Knight Rider 2 was it was too much like the original. That level of cheesiness just won't work today. It would be like trying to re-do Dukes of Hazzard - it was a fun show, in it's day... and still works when viewed in the context of the 70's... but times have changed.

carguy123
carguy123 HalfDork
12/12/08 9:02 a.m.

Knight Rider was one of the new generation of shows where advertising was sold from within the show and not just during commercials. When selling advertising and giving good placement is more important than the content you end up with a dud of a show.

captainzib
captainzib Reader
12/12/08 9:03 a.m.

I think too many top level executives with the power to make decisions like this are just too oblivious to the markets they cater to. Case in point, why do Ford and GM products in Europe and Australia kick so much ass compared the what they give us over here. Only recently are we starting to see rebadged Holden's and Opels, but the top end models still haven't made the jump.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve SuperDork
12/12/08 9:28 a.m.
carguy123 wrote: Knight Rider was one of the new generation of shows where advertising was sold from within the show and not just during commercials. When selling advertising and giving good placement is more important than the content you end up with a dud of a show.

Sadly, no one watches commercials anymore due to Tivo and DVRs and downloads, so advertisers have to find other ways of getting their message out there. And the television netwroks need the revenue to make new shows. One of the most effective tie-ins today is Ford Trucks with Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs. He does commercials for them, and they run commercials during the show, but it is the product placement where they really shine. He build a giant billboard once, and sure enough, they put up an ad for an F-150. It was tounge-in-cheek, funny, and fit with the personality of the show. On the last episode, he arrived on the job in a new F-150, and you see features of the truck being used during the course of the show. Obvious, but funny because you know he is the spokesman. Plus, you say to yourself "hey, the new F-150 has a hidden step for acces to the rear bed." Brilliant.

Do you watch "Life" on NBC? They drive new Ford Taurus or Fusion Police cars! (I can't tell them apart) Millionares drive a Ford Flex! Anyone who has to get into a car on the show will step into a new Edge. Its a Ford commercial. CSI is a GM commercial as well. I don't know about your community, but around here the CSI team drives a beat up old Econoline van, not a Hummer with $500,000 worth of computer equipment inside! My wife never notices it, but I sure do. Hopefully, Porsche and Lamborghini will get in on the act!

walterj
walterj HalfDork
12/12/08 9:30 a.m.
captainzib wrote: I think too many top level executives with the power to make decisions like this are just too oblivious to the markets they cater to. Case in point, why do Ford and GM products in Europe and Australia kick so much ass compared the what they give us over here. Only recently are we starting to see rebadged Holden's and Opels, but the top end models still haven't made the jump.

Not the same thing... the car execs are right on this one. Very few people here would pay $45k for a Focus even if it had 300HP AWD drive and nice leather. In the US size == value. I'm not saying I personally feel that way but look at the massive failure of upscale hatchbacks and you can understand where they are coming from.

OP: Sorry for the threadjack.

captainzib
captainzib Reader
12/12/08 9:40 a.m.

Eh, it may have been my fault, and you have a point. I'm just on a warpath with my ranting this morning.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH SuperDork
12/12/08 9:47 a.m.
pinchvalve wrote: Sadly, no one watches commercials anymore due to Tivo and DVRs and downloads, so advertisers have to find other ways of getting their message out there. And the television netwroks need the revenue to make new shows.

You're paying for a cable subscription AND being assaulted with interruptive ads, is there a limit to how much revenue they "need?"

stuart in mn
stuart in mn Dork
12/12/08 10:00 a.m.

I suppose we'll never know for sure, but it's probably just as well that show died on the vine...I didn't see any way that it was going to succeed.

pinchvalve wrote: One of the most effective tie-ins today is Ford Trucks with Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs. He does commercials for them, and they run commercials during the show, but it is the product placement where they really shine. He build a giant billboard once, and sure enough, they put up an ad for an F-150. It was tounge-in-cheek, funny, and fit with the personality of the show. On the last episode, he arrived on the job in a new F-150, and you see features of the truck being used during the course of the show. Obvious, but funny because you know he is the spokesman.

Mike Rowe is pretty funny when they do those blatant product placement bits on the show. Of course, it's nothing new...the auto manufacturers have always been providing cars for TV shows or movies. I remember watching I Dream of Jeannie and noticing everyone drove Pontiacs. Same deal with Bewitched (Chevrolet) and Beverly Hillbillies (Chrysler).

There was one of the Roger Moore 007 movies where they were having a car chase on a freeway, and every single car on the road was a '71 Impala. That one was a little too obvious.

captainzib
captainzib Reader
12/12/08 10:05 a.m.

Remember the car chase in the second Matrix movie? How many cars in that scene were not made by GM. I remember seeing one here and there, but I bet you could count them all on one hand. The Ducati doesn't count.

The BBC Top Gear's hosts never had a problem thrashing a car and its manufacturer for being crap. They often did so in the funniest way possible. The way advertising has a stranglehold on what we watch, I never thought Top Gear America stood a chance.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
12/12/08 10:10 a.m.

They probably killed it because they couldn't find an advertiser that would be willing to accept an honest view of their products. Can you just see GM loaning a car for "review" and the host declare it a total POS and then use it for bar car skittles or car skeet?

aircooled
aircooled Dork
12/12/08 10:56 a.m.

Also remember, if you saw the second episode of this season of UK Top Gear, Dodge refused to let Top Gear have a demo Challenger because they said Top Gear always trashed their cars. Of course there solution was to just go out a buy one! The irony of course is that they actually liked it (along with the Z06 and the Caddy).

Also, if they really want to make the US Top Gear into a crap show, they can sell it to Speed.

Kramer
Kramer Reader
12/12/08 11:00 a.m.

Also, NBC has locked in all of their M-F 10:00 time slots for the next two years. Any shows (existing or new) that are currently at that time slot will be moved to an earlier slot.

We should lobby Leno to include some car content during his new show. He's looking for ideas.

MitchellC
MitchellC Reader
12/12/08 11:14 a.m.

I think this would be great for CBS. They have recently been coming out of the dark, and it would be a great way for them to draw in new viewers. Or PBS... No advertisers necessary! Now there's a pipe dream.

Clay
Clay Reader
12/12/08 11:41 a.m.

Speaking of product placement, I like the new show "Chuck" and he has used his Iphone in the course of saving the world on several occasions now. That and the blatant ties with BestBuy crack me up. Love the show though. I don't mind it as I haven't watched an actual commercial since the day I got a DVR.

tuffburn
tuffburn New Reader
12/12/08 12:22 p.m.

uh? i just watch it on bbc america. think about it. everything thats awesome in britan gets ruined when we get our mitts on it. if top gear came to america it would prolly be rubbish in 2 weeks time.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
12/12/08 12:34 p.m.

Whew. At least this means I won't have to be embarrassed at the ' Americanization' of Top Gear the way I was when it was done to 'Junkyard Wars'.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve SuperDork
12/12/08 12:53 p.m.

Leno is moving to 10:00 and has to compete with CSI. He is talking about a variety show, but why not Jay's Garage? Week One: How fast will the jet-powered motorcycle go? Week 2: Racing the SLR against the Diablo. Etc.

Ian F
Ian F Reader
12/12/08 1:05 p.m.

I could see Leno possibly doing an occasional skit about cars, but as he mentioned when he dispelled the rumor about being part of Top Gear US: his cars are his fun and TV is work and he liked having them apart.

Rowe and Dirty Jobs are definitely the best at the product placement thing. It was funny watching them focus the camera on the guy using the side-step feature. However, we as "car guys" will notice that... the average snope may not...

carguy123
carguy123 HalfDork
12/12/08 1:43 p.m.

Product placement and what they were doing in Knight Rider are 2 different things. Logos and product placement is far different from outright ads.

It's the coming thing and will be the savior of Cable TV. All the good series will be on cable.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
12/12/08 2:00 p.m.

I dunno about this product placement stuff. But somehow, I have this strong desire for a Heineken. I just can't figger it out. I also have this desire to purchase skittles since NASCAR is on every weekend on 20% of my available channels.

Now that I only get 5 channels, 3 of which are PBS including the Arkansas Educational Television Network (draw your own conclusions there), channel surfing is down to 5 channels of nothing on for free instead of 100 channels of nothing on at $700/yr

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
12/12/08 2:29 p.m.
Dr. Hess wrote: Arkansas Educational Television Network

And I thought South Carolina Educational Television sounded like the punch line for a joke.

Thinkkker
Thinkkker SuperDork
12/12/08 2:32 p.m.

The good Dr. makes a excellent point. I think that I wil have to look into good internet service and forget the cable. Nowadays you can get much of the programming on the internet you see on TV.

Back to the Top Gear. I think it will not be as good of a show as the original, but I would like a chance to see it.

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