Top Gear is back in action in the U.S., featuring three new hosts in Dax Shepard, Rob Corddry, and Jethro Bovingdon. Created in partnership with the MotorTrend Group for the MotorTrend app, this series highlights expensive cars and wildly entertaining challenges. Top Gear also focuses more on the hosts' friendship instead of interactions with a studio audience.
Speaking exclusively with PopCulture.com, Shepard, Corddry, and Bovingdon provided insight into the show's first season and the changes made during production. Previous iterations of Top Gear — both in England and the United States — have started with a format heavily featuring a studio, audience members and celebrity guests. Top Gear America, however, is a more streamlined show that runs just over 30 minutes and focuses entirely on the trio of hosts and their automotive adventures.
"You know, from my point of view, what's great about the many iterations is watching how the hosts interact and what their true relationship is," Shepard told PopCulture. "I find that really intriguing in the show. And so for us interacting with audiences and stuff, to me just felt like giving up real estate that I would way rather explore between the three of us and see us interact with each other and how we feel about one another. That seems to me more intriguing than interacting with strangers or guests, which is not to say that there won't be guests or anything like that. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm grateful we didn't do a studio audience."
One important part of creating an automotive show full of road trips and jokes is finding a group of hosts that can work well together and display actual chemistry. Bovingdon, Corddry and Shepard may not have started out as close-knit friends that spent all of their free time together, but they display genuine rapport in each episode. Bovingdon explained that this process was made easier by the three hosts just reacting to each other and what was happening while filming each episode.
"The great thing — I think — is we haven't had to think too much about: 'What's my character? What's your character? What do we do in the show?' It just happened," Bovingdon explained. He continued and said that he wasn't starstruck by the two actors during the casting phase, which helped him transition from working on other series for MotorTrend, such as Best Driver's Car and Head 2 Head.
"I think I came quite lucky to the audition phase because I wasn't a super-fan of Dax or a super fan of Rob," Bovingdon said. "And I don't mean that badly. I mean, I've got a younger family, I haven't watched all their stuff, so I didn't walk in with this huge fear of, Oh my God, I'm meeting these two superstars and it just worked. I walked in, we got on great, Dax and I sort of understood each other really quick, Rob is just so funny and quick and seem to just want to absorb everything to do with Top Gear."
Headlined by Shepard, Corddry and Bovingdon, Top Gear America is available exclusively on the MotorTrend app, with new episodes releasing each Friday. The cost of MotorTrend OnDemand is $4.99 per month or $49.99 for a year subscription. Paying for the service provides an ad-free experience and early access to popular shows, as well as the entire run of the British Top Gear. The MotorTrend app is available on Apple TV, Roku Box, Google Chromecast, Xbox, and Amazon Fire TV.