Amazon is giving Jeremy Clarkson and his former 'Top Gear' hosts $250 million to launch a new show

Top gearBBC/Top Gear/ScreenshotClarkson, left, with Hammond (Center) and May.

Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond have a new show. The Guardian and other news outlets are reporting that former “Top Gear” hosts have signed a deal with Amazon to create a program for Amazon Prime.

According to the FT, sources say the former “Top Gear” hosts’ deal with Amazon is worth a reported $US250 million for three years and 36 episodes. 

“The trio’s new show will be broadcast on Amazon’s on-demand TV service, with the US giant beating off competition from ITV and its online rival, Netflix,” the Guardian reported, along with this typically edgy and amusing quote from Clarkson: “I feel like I’ve climbed out of a biplane and into a spaceship.”

The Amazon announcement comes as a bit of surprise, as the odd-on favourite to garner the talents of the “Top Gear” triumverate was Netflix. But regardless, Clarkson, Hammond, and May have left the familiar realms of broadcast TV behind and joined the brave new world of content creation.

The team’s lengthy and wildly successful run on the BBC came to an end earlier this year when Clarkson, no stranger to controversy, was fired after striking a “Top Gear” producer is a dispute over dinner after a day of filming. 

A protracted public debate over whether the BBC should part ways with Clarkson followed, concluding with the network declining to renew his contract. Hammond and May then joined Clarkson in a period of, as it turns out, brief unemployment.

“Top Gear” was a cash cow for the BBC, and it isn’t going away. A new host, Chris Evans, was signed to replace Clarkson. 

 From a business perspective, both the Amazon deal and the Netflix discussion are interesting because they signal the arrival of a new dynamic in creating and distributing entertainment online. Each internet giant has seen how popular “Top Gear” is with its audience, and using data on the behaviour of viewers, can position itself to make much stronger wagers on what types of new programming will be successful.

No word yet on what the new show will be called. 

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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