BBC Studios has signed a licensing deal with Mumbai-based network Viacom18 – a joint venture between ViacomCBS and TV18 – to broadcast season 27 of “Top Gear” in India. The latest instalment of this motor-TV institution, which aired on BBC Two in the U.K. in June, will play on Viacom18’s premium English-language channel Colors Infinity later this year.
“Indian viewers are big fans of fast-paced and adrenaline-pumping automotive content,” said Ferzad Palia, head of VOOT Select, Youth, Music and English Entertainment at Viacom18. “Globally, ‘Top Gear’ is recognized as the most popular motoring entertainment show, and we’re thrilled to showcase season 27 of this iconic show to viewers in India.”
Stanley Fernandes, vice president, distribution for BBC Studios South Asia, said: “Audiences are going love the new trio taking control of the wheel and taking the series to another level.”
Season 27 introduced two new presenters to the show, with TV host Paddy McGuinness (“Take Me Out”) and cricket star Andrew Flintoff (winner of the Australian version of “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!”) taking over from outgoing hosts Matt LeBlanc and Rory Reid, while motor journalist Chris Harris stayed on board.
The new cast proved popular with British viewers when season 27 aired on U.K. airwaves last June, drawing in a consolidated audience of 3.8 million viewers for the five-episode season. Season 28 premiered to even higher ratings, with the first episode premiering to 4.3 million viewers when it aired in late December.
BBC Studios announced the deal at a trade event in Liverpool on Monday. The international broadcaster has signed licensing deals for both seasons throughout the Asia Pacific region, with Kiwi broadcaster TVNZ securing the premiere rights for seasons 27 and 28 in New Zealand, and the BBC’s Australian arm to air both seasons later on this year.