Rebecca Bernard
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BBC Puts On Brave Face after ‘Top Gear’ Ratings Drop

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Top Gear Revamp Launch

The newly revamped Top Gear had the majority of audiences cringing throughout
Photo: The Sun Twitter

The second episode of the new Top Gear aired last weekend on BBC and BBC America. While we don’t yet have access to viewing figures for the second episode of Top Gear in America, we now know how it performed on its UK home turf. Unfortunately, the automotive program’s numbers look grim. 4.4 million viewers tuned in to the first episode of Top Gear live at the end of May, and only about 2.8 million viewers tuned in live to the second episode, a drop of over 1.5 million viewers, or about a third of its initial audience.

The BBC is beginning to fight back against the backlash. The automotive program airs on BBC2, and the broadcaster is quick to point out that Top Gear was still the most-watched show of the day on that particular channel in the very valuable 16-34 age segment. These initial viewing numbers do not include plays on BBC’s iPlayer, the BBC’s own streaming service in the UK.

Perhaps these numbers wouldn’t be yelled so loudly from the rooftops if Top Gear emperor Chris Evans (not that one) wasn’t trying to pick a fight with his critics on Twitter. After the initial viewing numbers were released, he fired back that those numbers were rubbish, since they didn’t include online streaming and viewers who caught up on the episode within a week.

For the record, last week in my post about angry Top Gear fans attacking the wrong Chris Evans on Twitter, I said “No one seems to have suggested to him [Chris Evans] that the new series of Top Gear got a ratings bump from curious onlookers and fans who left dissatisfied, and that they might not return for episode two.” Several other voices from the automotive world seemed to suggest the same thing, but were ignored as simple naysayers.

Two episodes is too soon to pass any sort of final judgement on this new version of Top Gear, but the evidence is stacking up that something isn’t quite working with the show’s new format. I wonder how far the BBC will let viewing numbers slide before they are forced to take action.

News Source: RadioTimes