Three months after the abrupt end of “Top Gear” on BBC2, reports indicate that the show’s trio of hosts are headed for Netflix.
According to the Daily Mirror’s Nigel Pauley, a source claims that ex-“Top Gear” hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond — along with former showrunner Andy Wilman — are “very close” to a deal with Netflix.
The source also told the publication that Hammond and May will also reject the BBC’s reported $US7.1-million offer to return to the show.
Sources claim that the BBC’s offer would have paid the duo each as much $US1.2 million to $US1.8 million a year to host “Top Gear” for another two or three series, the Daily Mail’s Jennifer Newton reported last week.
According to the Daily Mirror, the hosts made it clear that “no amount of money could persuade them to return to the BBC2 show without Clarkson.”
In recent weeks, the foursome have held meetings with a number of potential suitors including British broadcasters ITV. But it seems that Netflix has come out on top.
The American online media streaming service is home to such award winning original programming as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”
Top Gear’s 22nd-season ended abruptly in March after only seven of the nine planned episodes had aired, due to the suspension and subsequent dismissal of Clarkson.
Hammond and May followed Clarkson out the door by voluntarily declining to renew their respective BBC contracts, which expired in April. Andy Wilman — longtime executive producer and close friend of Clarkson — also left the BBC in the wake of the hosts’ dismissal.
The network’s decision to part ways with the polarising TV personality came after an internal BBC inquiry found Clarkson had punched a “Top Gear” producer when he failed to obtain a hot steak dinner after a long day of filming.
In addition, the fracas with the producer came on the heels of a controversy-filled 2014 for Clarkson — which saw the TV host mired in scandal stemming from accusations of racist, sexist, and culturally insensitive comments.
Prior to his dismissal, Clarkson had spent nearly three decades with the BBC as a host on “Top Gear” and is credited with being the driving force behind the show’s explosive international success.
With more than 350 million weekly viewers, “Top Gear” set the Guinness World record as the most watched factual TV program in the world. In addition to the UK show, the Top Gear brand includes numerous international spinoffs, a live stadium tour, merchandising, a successful magazine, and a website.
Although their involvement with the “Top Gear” television program may be over, the show’s trio of former hosts will continue with its live stadium appearances. However, the tour will no longer be able carry the “Top Gear” name. Instead, it will be named after the show’s three hosts — “Clarkson, Hammond, and May Live”
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