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Global Showbiz Briefs: Portugal’s ‘Rising Star’ Bows To 3.7M; CTV Picks Up U.S. Version Of The Singing Competition; More

By | Monday May 5, 2014 @ 10:00pm PDT

3.7 Million Portuguese Welcome Their Version Of ‘Rising Star’
With about a month and a half to go before ABC debuts its version of interactive singing competition format Rising Star, the international rollout continues. The Israeli show proxima estrelawas a massive hit for Keshet last year, and its Brazilian iteration (Superstar) bowed last month to strong ratings despite a technical glitch in the debut episode. It’s Portugal’s turn now, with A Proxima Estrella bowing last night on local broadcaster TVI. The launch won primetime with a 32.7% average share, a 14.1 rating and 3.7M total viewers. More than 1.2M votes were tallied via the Rising Star app that puts the fate of the competing acts in the hands of the audience. The app has now been downloaded in Portugal more than 170,000 times, says Keshet. Performers must reach a threshold of 70% positive votes before a giant screen lifts and they are faced with the judges and studio audience, advancing to the next round. Nine performers went ahead last night (here‘s one covering Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”). Prior to the official airing, TVI drew an audience of more than 1.5M for its test screening with an average audience share of 31% and a 16 rating. Read More »

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BBC America Orders Vehicle Transformation Series ‘Mud, Sweat & Gears’

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 6:44am PST

BBC America has given the green light to vehicle transformation series Mud, Sweat & Gears. The eight-episode series, produced by BBC bbc-america-logo__130325101911-200x105Worldwide Productions for BBC America and BBC Worldwide’s new Brit channel, will be hosted by Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford and Jonny Smith — two UK car journalists. Each week, the pair will work as rival captains for two teams of car enthusiasts. They will have 24 hours to reconstruct ordinary vehicles and complete competitive stunt challenges. Perry Simon, General Manager of BBC America, called it a perfect fit for the network’s Top Gear driven Monday lineup. Top Gear, in its 21st season, is on target for its highest rated season yet in the U.S. Production begins shooting next month in California. Mud, Sweat & Gears also will launch across the BBC’s international channels and is the first original commission to be announced for BBC Brit – the new male-skewing factual entertainment channel due to launch in several worldwide markets outside of the U.S. in 2014. In the U.S., the series joins BBC America’s slate of new unscripted programming including Top Gear, Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan, and its new BBC Earth block of natural history programs, The Graham Norton Show and upcoming original series Million Dollar Critic Starring Giles Coren. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: BBC’s iPlayer VOD Service Strikes Olympic Gold, BBC Worldwide Buys ‘Top Gear’

By | Saturday September 29, 2012 @ 2:00am PDT

Olympic Fever Fuels Record-Breaking Month For BBC’s iPlayer VOD Service
BBC’s iPlayer video-on-demand service had a record 200 million viewing requests in August as Olympic fever hit the nation. The iPlayer VOD service broke records for most monthly show requests, most requests per week, most users per week and most usage over mobile and tablets, the Guardian reports. Live-viewing also hit an all-time high in August, accounting for a third of the 151 million iPlayer requests to watch TV shows during the month. The opening ceremony on July 27 was the most watched with 3.9 million requests, followed by the closing ceremony on August 12 with 2.1 million. Read More »

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History Renews ‘Top Gear’ For Season 3

By | Friday May 11, 2012 @ 11:20am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: History has renewed its series Top Gear for a third season, with production now underway. Season 2 of the U.S. version of the British hit drew 1.1 million adults 18-49 and is the network’s youngest-skewing series. Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood host Top Gear, which is produced by BBC Worldwide Prods and is co-production between History and BBC Worldwide. The original series is BBC Two’s most-watched program in the UK, and it airs stateside on BBC America.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, Bangladesh

Jeremy Clarkson Strikes Again, Fry’s A Gentleman
The BBC has put an episode of Stephen Fry’s game show QI on the shelf following remarks made by Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson last week. The episode of the intellectual comedy quiz show, which Clarkson taped this past summer, was due to air tonight in the UK. But appearing on the BBC’s The One Show last week, Clarkson prompted outrage when he commented on the recent public workers strike in Britain, “I would have them taken outside and executed them in front of their families.” Clarkson apologized in due course, but he’s no stranger to this kind of controversy. Earlier this year Top Gear was criticized over comments about Mexicans which were perceived as racist. The Guardian has a compilation of Clarkson’s most famous flubs titled “Jeremy Clarkson: big mouth strikes again.” Meanwhile, I checked Stephen Fry’s Twitter feed to see if he’d made any comment about the network’s decision to shelve the show, but he’s been busy promoting the Sherlock Holmes sequel in which he plays Holmes’ brother Mycroft and which premiered last night in London. He did, however, point to a new poll in which Winston Churchill was voted the greatest British gentleman of the 20th century, followed by filmmaker Richard Attenborough and … Stephen Fry.

New Appointments At Sky, National Geographic
Phil Edgar Jones has been named head of entertainment for Sky. He will have oversight on the bouquet of channels that includes Sky 1, Sky Arts and Sky Living. He will also commission shows for Sky Movies and the recently launched Sky Atlantic which is airing a host of HBO shows. Edgar Jones was previously creative director of independent producer Running Bare and creative director of Remarkable Pictures where he exec produced Big Brother on Channel 4. In related news, Hamish Mykura has been named executive vice president and head of international content for National Geographic Channels International. The former head of documentaries for Channel 4 will also become the London head of global development for National Geographic Channel. Mykura will oversee editorial development and production for the company and will supervise NGCI’s networks NGC, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Adventure. Read More »

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History Renews ‘Top Gear’ For Season 2

By | Thursday February 10, 2011 @ 11:20am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Start your engines:  History has greenlit a second season of Top Gear. The U.S. adaptation of the iconic BBC car series premiered in November and has averaged the youngest audience ever for a series on History.

Production on the second season of Top Gear, from BBC Worldwide Prods., will begin in the spring. Returning as co-hosts are comedian Adam Ferrara, champion rally and drift racer Tanner Foust and racing analyst Rutledge Wood.  John Hesling is executive producing the series, which features extreme stunts and challenges, car reviews and celebrity interviews, along with History’s Russ McCarroll.

The U.S. version has gotten the seal of approval from Jeremy Clarkson, host of the UK Top Gear. Clarkson said he and fellow co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May were initially “anxious” about passing the show on to their US counterparts. “We needn’t have worried because Top Gear is clearly in safe hands, even if they do insist on speaking in those stupid accents,” Clarkson said. “Watching an episode from series 1 with Richard and James, we found ourselves in a genuinely heated debate about which of the presenters’ cars was best. We were just three ordinary chaps watching a car show and loving it, which is exactly what Top Gear should be. Bring on series 2.”

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CABLE RAT RACE: OK Start For ‘Top Gear’

By | Monday November 22, 2010 @ 1:34pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

After several years in development, first at NBC and then at History, the U.S. adaptation of the hit British unscripted series Top Gear made it on the air last night. The History series debuted to respectable ratings – 1.9 million viewers, 1.1 million of them in the adults 18-49 demo. It didn’t come close to breaking any records though – for instance, History’s American Pickers drew 3.1 million in its series premiere earlier this year.

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Idris Elba, Louis Theroux and ‘Top Gear’ Headline BBC America’s Fall

The Brit actor who’s just signed to play maverick cop Alex Cross in David Twohy’s Cross, stars in the 6-part BBC mini-series Luther playing another maverick cop (think Cracker meets Prime Suspect meets Wallender). Luther uses the Columbo trick of letting the viewer discover early on who the murderer is – the suspense comes from watching how Luther will catch the murderer. Brit TV reviewers agreed Elba saved a tired formula “pitched somewhere in that territory between fantasy and cliché that commissioning editors find so irresistible,” humphed the Guardian, while the Daily Telegraph said: “Luther lets Elba down”. Poor early reviews impacted ratings. From an audience of 5.8 million (24%) for its first outing, ratings fell to 3.1 million (12.3%) by episode five. Despite falling ratings, the Beeb announced at the Edinburgh TV festival it was commissioning Luther for a couple more two-hour specials. Luther premieres October 17.

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz do a turn throwing a hatchback car round a racetrack in hugely popular car show Top Gear. Andy Garcia and Harry Potter star Rupert Grint also test their driving skills this season. Cruise and Cameron’s much-publicised appearance came as a welcome spike in Top Gear’s declining ratings. That week’s episode scored 5.8 million viewers and a 22% audience share compared with a season average of 2.6 million. Top Gear remains popular in Britain, and has made stars out … Read More »

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