Amazon signs ‘Top Gear’ team for new car show
The former “Top Gear” hosts are revving up for a comeback on Amazon.
The original trio — Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May — who all fronted the popular BBC all-things-car show for 13 years will return to produce a new car show for Amazon Prime.
The yet-to-be-titled show will be produced by former “Top Gear” executive producer Andy Wilman and begin shooting this autumn for a 2016 debut. BBC fired Clarkson in March after he admitted to punching a producer in the face and the other two hosts resigned soon after.
Amazon picked up three seasons and it will air on Prime in U.S., UK, Austria and Germany. In countries where Prime isn’t available, the Wall Street Journal reports that it will likely license the rights to other streaming services.
“Customers told us they wanted to see the team back on screen, and we are excited to make that happen,” Jay Marine, vp of Amazon Prime Video EU, said in a statement.
Amazon is ramping up its efforts to battle Netflix and others in the U.K. and Europe, having just poached BT TV exec Alex Green to lead its video efforts there.
Clarkson and crew cited creative freedom promised by Amazon as the reason (besides money, obviously) why they were enticed. “I feel like I’ve climbed out of a bi-plane and into a spaceship,” said Clarkson.
“Top Gear” is a ratings powerhouse that is estimated to attract 350 million viewers across 215 countries, making it one the BBC’s most profitable exports. Although the new show won’t retain the iconic title, the hosts immediately recognizable names should be draw a sizable audience.
Fans on Twitter were mixed about the news, with some complaining about how expensive Prime is:
Top gear will now only be available for amazon prime .. Ffs
— JordanWoodward (@jordan_pw158) July 30, 2015
Bloody Amazon Prime?! Come on @netflix why haven’t you splashed some cash. I mean, does anyone even use Amazon Prime? At all?
— Will Thomas (@Will0Thomas) July 30, 2015
But others were thrilled:
Looks like Netflix is getting cancelled… Hello AmazonPrime
— Jason Lowe (@Jaseyyy01) July 30, 2015
Hmm… “Not Top Gear” coming to Amazon. Might be time to finally go Prime. #TopGear
— Rick Hill (@therickhill) July 30, 2015