Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have begun filming their new show for Amazon Prime, according to various tweets from the trio.
The new programme is being launched exclusively on Prime after Clarkson got fired from the BBC for punching a producer. Jeff Bezos described the deal to acquire the rights as “very, very, very expensive.” Various other suitors, including Netflix, vied for the show but ultimately Amazon was the best fit.
Modern Top Gear was born in 1998 when Clarkson became the presenter, alongside Hammond (known as “Hamster” for his size) and May (known as “Captain Slow”). The show became the most popular BBC programme with over 350 million weekly viewers around the world, bringing in £50 million ($US76 million) per year for the corporation.
Here’s everything we know about the new show.
Jeff Bezos, apparently a keen Top Gear enthusiast, made a deal with Clarkson that was, in his own words, 'very, very, very expensive.' While the actual details weren't revealed, reports suggested that Amazon had plonked down over $US250 million (£162 million) for 36 episodes of the show. Clarkson will receive a $US46 million (£30 million) payout over the course of his contract.
The result of this mega-deal is that every episode of the new show has a budget of around $US7 million (£4.5 million) per episode, up from the $US1.5 million (£977,000) the BBC invested.
The roll-out of the show will be interesting. Amazon could follow Netflix's model of dumping every episode of a series online at once, which leads to 'binge watching,' or it could follow in the footsteps of TV and release a new episode each week, creating a sustained period of interest.
Whichever option is chosen, tens of millions of people will likely tune in to watch three guys muck around in cars.
There is no official name for the project as yet but various media reports suggested it would be called 'Gear Knobs.'
On first glance the name seems childish and immature -- and it is. But the reference to 'Gear' harks back to 'Top Gear,' and it's memorable. Given the sense of humour the trio possesses, however, the suggestion is likely a joke.
It's unclear how much Amazon is involved in the process of branding the show but Clarkson, Hammond and May likely insisted that all creative decisions were their own.