BBC America has given the green light to vehicle transformation series Mud, Sweat & Gears. The eight-episode series, produced by BBC Worldwide 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.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BBC’s iPlayer VOD Service Strikes Olympic Gold, BBC Worldwide Buys ‘Top Gear’
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.
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.