The Top Gear trio have signed a deal to make a new car TV show for Amazon Prime.
The former BBC presenters have been the subject of speculation for months, following Clarkson’s departure from the Beeb earlier this year thanks to a “fracas” involving a producer. While the broadcaster lined up Chris Evans to host a new version of Top Gear, the media world was abuzz with where co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond might be headed. To Netflix? To ITV? No, they are heading to Amazon.
The deal for an undisclosed amount is one of the biggest coups of TV history, placing Amazon Prime on a fast-track to bigger things. Indeed, the company has already signed up talent such as Woody Allen and Ridley Scott to create TV shows for the streaming service, which costs £5.99 a month, while last year’s Transparent became the first web series to win a Best Series Golden Globe.
The new Top Gear show will air in 2016 and will be produced by former Top Gear exec Andy Wilman, reports the Standard. It will run for three seasons, with work expected to start this autumn. The only thing we know for sure? The Stig will not feature.
Jeremy Clarkson, who previously spoke of his sadness and deep regret at leaving the BBC said today:
“I feel like I’ve climbed out of a bi-plane and into a spaceship,” said Clarkson.
“Amazon? Oh yes. I have already been there. I got bitten by a bullet ant,” added Hammond.
May commented: “We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn’t it?”
Jay Marine, vice president of Amazon Prime Video EU, said: “Customers told us they wanted to see the team back on screen, and we are excited to make that happen. Millions of Prime members are already enjoying our ground-breaking original shows. We can’t wait to see what Jeremy, Richard, James and the team will create in what is sure to be one of the most globally anticipated shows of 2016.”
The deal marks a continuing tactic by Amazon to snap up previously scrapped series: last year, a third season of Ripper Street premiered on Amazon Prime Instant Video, with edited versions of the episodes to begin broadcasting on the BBC this Friday.