CJ EM to publish Top Gear in South Korea

The global motoring phenomenon Top Gear is continuing to make inroads into Asia, as BBC Worldwide announces that South Korea is the latest country to license the format.

The licensee is CJ E&M, South Korea’s biggest media conglomerate, who will launch a brand new local version of the show on men’s lifestyle channel XTM. The series, to be hosted by Kim Jin-Pyo (former professional racing driver), Kim Kap-Soo (car and bike enthusiast) and Yeon Jung-Hoon (member of the Korean celebrity racing circuit) will air 13 weekly episodes, from August 2011. This year has already seen the Chinese version, Zui Gaodong, launch on Hunan TV.

Adam Waddell, Managing Director for Top Gear at BBC Worldwide, welcomed the deal, saying, “The Top Gear brand has a strong presence in South Korea, with the original UK version and the magazine already having successfully launched there. We’re delighted that South Korean viewers will get to see their own local version, with a unique Korean spin on an internationally-renowned format.”

Top Gear Korea will include popular elements from the original format, including the Stig, and its very own version of the Top Gear track and studio. The presenters will also test cars to the limit and undertake their own Top Gear challenges, including paradriving, racing the KTX ‘bullet train’, and an exhilarating race from Seoul to Busan. Local stars will also be invited to the studio to take part in the show’s version of the original Star in a Reasonably Priced Car section, in what will be entitled Star Lap Time.

Ms. Hwang Hye-Jung, Head of XTM Channel, commented: “We’re thrilled to have licensed the format for Top Gear, which is a tried and tested hit around the world. We hope to see our version of the show become a huge success in South Korea.”

Top Gear is one of BBC Worldwide’s flagship brands; the original UK version has been licensed to198 territories globally. The format has previously been sold to Australia, Russia and the USA. The sale of the Top Gear format to CJ E&M continues a successful year of formats business for BBC Worldwide in South Korea, following the launch on 10th June of MBC’s version of Dancing with the Stars.

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