Leno Turns Down NBC's Top Gear

Jay Leno apparently has no interest in hosting an NBC version of the BBC’s Top Gear, saying after speaking with an NBC exec about it he decided to “run away from this as quickly as I can.”
Writing in the Driving section of the Sunday Times in Great Britain, Leno says he doesn’t think a direct adaptation of the show would work and that he turned down a network overture to host.

“In my mind I can just see [original Top Gear host] Jeremy [Clarkson] lambasting Americans for what they did to his show. So I think: I’ve got to run away from this as quickly as I can.”

Leno’s commentary about NBC’s handling of the show comes just days after he played the good company man and welcomed Conan O’Brien as a Tonight Show guest.

O’Brien is still slated as of now to replace Leno in 2009.

Leno said his excuse to NBC about Top Gear was that he didn’t want to make his hobby his job.  But he writes that while The Office has worked here in its new form, that may not be the case unless Top Gear underwent a major overhaul.

“Jeremy and the guys are extremely talented, so maybe it would be an idea to do an American show similar to Top Gear but not with the same name, because I think it would be impossible to recreate or live up to the standards of the British show,” Leno writes.