Pay TV to fast-track Top Gear

New episodes of Top Gear will now be screened first on Pay Television in a new deal with BBC Worldwide and Nine.

BBC Knowledge will fast-track Series 19 “bringing the program to subscription TV viewers in a consistent slot and only days after the UK transmission” it said in a Press Release.

Nine will have the Free to Air premieres, understood to be several months later via Nine and GO!

While Nine remains aligned to the Top Gear brand, it’s a long way from the buoyant and lucrative deal that the network forged when the show left the SBS garage in 2009.

At the time David Gyngell said, “We are genuinely excited to have Top Gear under the Nine banner and look forward to bringing it to an even wider audience.”

While the show debuted well for Nine, last year it struggled with changing timeslots and delayed episodes. But it has also become a staple for GO!

BBC Worldwide Director of Sales Julie Dowding said, “This is a significant deal for BBC Worldwide Australasia and for Australian Top Gear fans. We are fast-tracking Top Gear to Australia by closing the transmission window, offering premium value to viewers on our wholly owned channel BBC Knowledge, and ensuring that all Australians get the opportunity to view Top Gear by continuing our successful relationship with the Nine Network.”

Michael Healy, Nine’s Director of Television said, “We’re delighted to be continuing our successful relationship with Top Gear, bringing one of the world’s biggest shows to all Australians on Nine.”

Deirdre Brennan, GM/Director of Channels for BBC Worldwide added, “Top Gear is a premium brand that appeals to a broad audience, from families to motoring fans, with its infectious mix of credibility and character. It’s very exciting to be able to bring it to Australian Foxtel customers first on BBC Knowledge.”

A BBC spokesperson confirmed to TV Tonight there are no plans to proceed with Top Gear Australia.

15 Comments:

  1. @Secret Squirrel

    Channel 9 made a lot of money for the first couple of years showing the new episodes and lots of repeats. It stopped working because 90 minutes at 9:30pm was too long and late. Now they will now pay less for the FTA repeat rights.

    Part of this is the BBC International stepping up broadcasting in Australia. They have bought UK TV and are supplying less to the ABC and showing first run of dramas and comedies there and are now using BBC Knowledge for factual programming (and Top Gear 🙂

  2. Almost forgot about BBCK in HD, so we get it fast tracked, less ads and in HD at a time we want to watch it. And Nine looses out!

    As for the number of eps you have to remember Top Gear until this year was broken up into a summer and winter series, so taken as a yearly whole they do more than 13 shows most years. But instead of bunching them all together over 3 months we get then spread out. Just a shame Nine liked to thin them out with re-runs and not make full use of the digital channels or HD.

  3. @snoopy888 – you want Fifth Gear. I think it was playing on 7two/7mate. S21 has just started on Discover Channel altho’ I wouldn’t call Aston Martins and Bentleys affordable by the average person.

    @Pertinax – if Nine has difficulty showing a 6-ep series uninterrupted in its entirety, they shouldn’t have wasted their money, and p!ssed off lots of TG fans.

    There are a number of viewer-acceptable strategies that they could have adopted to “extend” the season to 13 eps (or mate it with some other 6-8 ep series). Inserting repeats into a current series is not one of them.

  4. The earlier ones from S10 weren’t, hope they are re-released in full, along wither S1-S9. I just love we’ll get to see the next season sooner, along with Doctor Who this is the best news all year.

  5. @Pertinax – you need to get some of your facts right. TG UK is a 60 min show (without ads) with some specials are longer. The BBC edited the show down to 50 minutes for international audiences including SBS and the first seasons on Nine, until a few years ago when Nine was able to get the full version to air here. The DVDs sold here are the edited version. Yes at 60 min they run around 90 min with ads on Nine.

    @Shiraz – not sure why that one was removed, I’ve see it when it aired on SBS (I think) and maybe BBC Knowledge.

    I’m sorry for those without Foxtel but Nine had screwed TG fan enough, finally we’ll legally get to see them quicker, in prime time and not when Nine deems we are ready.

    Their will be a Christmas special (at Christmas time!) with season 19 to follow early in the new year, the exact date has been announced yet.

  6. Channel 9 didn’t treat Top Gear as filler.

    It is just that the BBC’s production of 50 minute episodes in blocks of 6-8 episodes twice a year doesn’t fit with commercial TV. By the time you stick ads in them the episodes ran to 90 minutes, and many of the ads had to be inserted into the middle of segments. To make longer blocks of episodes Channel 9 mixed new episodes with repeats. And once it stopped rating as highly they moved to after 9:30am when it wasn’t finishing till after 11pm.

    Downton Abbey has similar problems but has enough viewers to totally dominate 8:30pm till 10pm on Sunday in the middle of winter and Channel 7 can live with 8 episodes of that.

    SBS would never be able to supply the cash necessary to meet Clarkson’s salary so the BBC had to make deals with commercial networks around the globe.

  7. Good News but please change the hosts!!!!.I was just watching some old episodes from the Tiff Needell and Vicki I forget what her last name was era of the Nineties and back then it was more down to earth.They most of the time tested cars the average person could afford and when the show had meaning not the nonsense it has turned into.

  8. I’m blown away by this, but it’s great to see sensibility reigning supreme. Top Gear has lost a lot of its Mojo in my view due to the treatment of the show by 9. BBC Knowledge is a terrific channel and it makes sense to show it there first and thanks BBC.

    On a slightly different matter, have a look at series 9 of TG on itunes. There are only 5 episodes available, when the series actually has 6. I contacted itunes to ask where was the missing episode and they came back to me with a very political answer which basically said the rights holder had removed the missing episode. I’m not sure if that’s meant to be 9 or the BBC, but it is strange none the less. The missing episode is the 1st one where Richard Hammond talks about the dragster crash. Take a look yourself…

    Anyone know why it’s been removed?

  9. Very disappointed.. with the BBC for ever giving Nine broadcast rights and for Nine treating this show as just filler programming. The Beeb should have given this back to SBS or even Aunty to screen. TG fans will be lucky to see this on FTA before mid next year.. and no doubt with little fanfare only on GO! too.

  10. David you just made my day, take that FreeView!

    I guess the problem with Nine is because the next series starts in the non ratings period they either had to fast track it and not get the ratings or delay it a few months until Feb 2013.

    Also a shame Nine screwed up TG AU, it was getting better in the end.

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