STRIPPED GEARS: I know that Jay Leno wasn’t the only person worried about NBC’s plans to do a U.S. remake of Top Gear, the BBC auto show with an avid international following, remarkable as many of those fans have had to content themselves with YouTube clips of the show. If it’s you I’m talking about, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that NBC has apparently dropped the whole silly idea, according to a column by San Francisco Chronicle TV columnist Tim Goodman, a rabid fan of the show who was living in constant dread of how badly NBC could screw this up.

“Long live misunderstood visionary Jeremy Clarkson!” wrote Goodman with apparent relief. “Hail to originality in all of its unglossy glory! Hurray for the ability to make fun of terrible cars without risking an advertising boycott!”

The bad news, though, is that the whole thing could end up back on NBC’s sked by the summer, if the network suddenly finds itself in dire need of new programming. It’s all in the realm of rumour at the moment, and while Goodman admits that any details about what NBC plans to do are behind the walls of what he calls “the best-kept secret in Hollywood,” a persistent rumour is that Adam Carolla is the likely pick as host – if the show ever gets produced. (It’s unkind, but I can’t help but wonder if Carolla got offered the job just because his name is one letter away from being the name of a Toyota model. Don’t laugh – we’re talking about Hollywood here.)

If NBC wants to get the show on the road (hey – I made a funny!) for the summer they’ll have to start filming now, so we’ll soon be able to put the rumours to rest. In the meantime, it’s worth wondering why NBC doesn’t just have Alan Thicke or Bob Saget dub Clarkson’s voice and drop original Top Gears on the air. It’s not like they’re going to have a better idea.

DAMN DAMN DAMN: I completely forgot about it, and my DVR died this weekend anyway (thank you, Rogers, especially for the utterly indifferent customer service), but Christopher Walken hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend, the highlight of which was a skit called Walken Family Reunion, which allowed everyone in the cast to do their own Walken impersonation. I’d call that comic gold, sight unseen.

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