BBC America Expands Into Original Production With Two New Series

The cable network picks up a comedy game show with Graham Norton and an automotive-themed series featuring "Top Gear" host Richard Hammond.
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Graham Norton

BBC America is taking its first steps toward original production, greenlighting two unscripted series and announcing its first development slate.

The U.S. cable network said Monday that it has picked up the comedy game show Would You Rather With Graham Norton with a 13-episode order and automotive-themed series Hard Drive With Richard Hammond with a six-episode order.

Would You Rather, a half-hour show that will be shot in New York, will test the wits of America's best comedians. The show, produced by So Television, will premiere later this year as part of BBC America's recently launched comedy franchise dubbed The Ministry of Laughs.

Hard Drive features Top Gear host Hammond traveling the U.S. and competing with local experts driving "some of America’s toughest and most extraordinary vehicles." The show, from BBC Worldwide Productions, is based on the BBC format World's Toughest Driving Tests.

Meanwhile, BBC America also has a slew of projects in development, including:

-- James May's Man Lab U.S., a pilot based on a British format and produced by Plum Pictures, features May teaming up with a U.S. sidekick to help Americans rediscover and relearn the skills that define "being a man."

-- AUTO Biography, from Reveille, tracks down the history of vintage cars.

-- Battlemodo, from True Entertainment, Gawker Media and, pits two cutting-edge products against each other to determine which is the best.

-- No Kitchen Required, from Notional, puts four chefs in a remote location and challenges them to create a meal for the locals with native ingredients.

-- Shock Therapy, from BBC Worldwide Productions and adapted from the BBC U.K. format Fat & Fatter, is a one-hour special/backdoor pilot that aims to help young addicts by pairing them with an extreme version of themselves in order to "shock" them to change their lives and habits for the better.   

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