richard hammond top gear bbc america 320 BBC America announces two series, more Richard Hammond, first development slate

BBC America is no longer just in the business of imports.

The oft sci-fi-centric cable network announced orders for two original unscripted series on July 25 and a slate of five more currently in development. And the shows definitely making their way to the tube include two of the network’s most familiar faces.

The tentatively-titled “Would You Rather With Graham Norton and “Hard Drive With Richard Hammond have been picked up for 12 and 6 episodes, respectively — giving the titular stars double duty on the stateside BBC in addition to their gigs on “The Graham Norton Show” and “Top Gear.”

“Would You Rather” is a game show, shot in New York, that pits US comics against each other in a battle of wits. When it premieres later in 2011, it will join the BBCA’s recently launched “Ministry of Laughs” comedy block.

As for “Hard Drive,” the six-episode run is based off of BBC’s “World’s Toughest Driving Tests” and will follow Hammond across the U.S. as he interviews and competes against local car experts and enthusiasts.

Fellow “Top Gear” personality James May stars in one of the five pilots in development, “James May’s Man Lab U.S,” a comedic, documentary-style series about reclaiming masculinity in the 21st century.

Other pilots in contention at BBCA include car-centric “AUTO Biography,” tech competition “Battlemodo,” addiction diary “Shock Therapy” and a culinary competition forcing chefs to compete with few frills called “No Kitchen Required.”

Posted by:Mikey O'Connell