GlobalTimes, one of China’s biggest newspapers, got into the TopGear-China story and managed to talk to mr. Cao Yunjin, who was tipped as one of the hosts of the show. Cao confirmed the rumors and told GlobalTimes a 30 minute pilot episode has been filmed. The first show will feauture a race between a Cadillac and a donkey, Cao said.
Cao went on to talk about the differences between the Chinese and good old British TopGear:
The local version will maintain the show’s comedic style, but producers will recalibrate how the fun is dished out to meet with censorship requirements, Cao told the Global Times.
“The boys [Top Gear UK’s hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May] go crazy with cars in the show, like pushing a Maserati over the top of a three-story building and smashing it,” Cao said.
“It may be too much violence for a fun program in China,” he continued. “We will do more localized fun stuff.”
After the news of TG China broke, many commenters on various artcles noted that TG China could not be completely independent since many Chinese car companies are government owned and so is the CCTV television network. It seems a solution was found by not testing Chinese cars too much, Cao:
The local version will feature luxury cars, and some domestic brands will also be tested.
Cao refused to give a date for the first show.
An anonymous insider said the country’s state broadcaster, China Central Television (CCTV), has obtained rights to the show and will produce and broadcast it from Beijing, according to China automotive news website carnewschina.com on Monday.