July 21, 2024


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Fifth Gear To Relaunch As Electronic Vehicle Format; Signs Former ‘Top Gear’ Host Rory Reid

EXCLUSIVE: Discovery’s long-running motoring format Fifth Gear is to relaunch as an Electronic Vehicle (EV) show and has installed former Top Gear host Rory Reid to present.

Fifth Gear: Recharged will air episodes weekly on streamer Discovery+ in the UK and UKTV network Quest later this year as All3Media-owned producer North One looks to take advantage of colossal growing interest in EVs, which has quickened due to the current UK gas crisis.

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The original Fifth Gear ran for 28 seasons, first on Channel 5 and then Discovery channels History and Quest, before ending two years ago.

“Almost every car manufacturer in the world has bet their house on electric so this seemed like a sensible thing to do rather than a massive leap of faith,” said North One founder and Fifth Gear exec Neil Duncanson, who also produces coverage of EV sporting format Formula-E.

“Electric was a byline in the original Fifth Gear but now internal combustion engines would be a byline. We are reflecting changing attitudes and audience behavior.”

Signing Rory Reid

Motoring journalist and presenter Reid, who hosted BBC format Top Gear from 2016 to 2019, will help broaden the show out to a wider audience, according to Simon Downing, Discovery’s SVP of Marketing and Head of Factual and Documentaries.

Reid is joined by previous hosts Jason Plato, Vicki Butler-Henderson and Jimmy de Ville alongside the likes of former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok and EV consumer journalist Grace Webb.

“The shortcut to being broad is having people on screen who represent the diversity of the potential audience,” said Downing. “Motoring is a key pillar for Discovery+ and Quest and Fifth Gear sits very much front and centre within that offering.”

Downing stressed the “sweet spot” of a show that can work on both streaming services and linear TV, and Fifth Gear: Recharged will be dropped weekly on both Discovery+ and Quest.

Distributor All3Media International has already attracted interest from abroad for Fifth Gear: Recharged, according to Duncanson, who pointed to the “educational” nature of the format as sales of EVs shoot upwards.

“We’ve always tried to do education by stealth and I think that’s what we’ve achieved with this show,” he added. “People want to know what happens when their EV runs out of juice or how to get a charger installed in their house, and we are a trusted resource.”

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