Ex-Top Gear hosts head to Amazon TV

Amazon has succeeded in pulling off one of the biggest coups in TV history by signing former Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May for a new car show on its streaming service.

The programme will air on Amazon Video in 2016 and will be produced by former Top Gear executive Andy Wilman.

Clarkson, known for creating controversy on a number of topics, was fired from the BBC earlier in 2015 following a “fracas”, where he punched Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon in the face during an argument about catering.

Clarkson was replaced on Top Gear by Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans.

Top Gear is one of the most popular TV shows in the world, with an estimated global viewership of 350 million people.

It is one the BBC’s most powerful global brands, with reported estimates revealing that the show makes £150 million (R3 billion) annually in revenue for the broadcaster.

In the UK, episodes draw as many as 6 million viewers. When Clarkson left the show, it lost over 4 million viewers – after 5.1 million tuned in to see the former host’s last show.

Following Clarkson’s exit, his Top Gear co-stars May and Hammond turned down a £4-million (R80 million) offer from the BBC to return to Top Gear, so that they could launch the new show with Clarkson.

Clarkson, Hammond and May coming to Amazon Prime
Clarkson, Hammond and May coming to Amazon Prime

The UK’s Daily Mirror previously reported that Netflix was the platform that would most likely lead the trio’s return.

The three dropped hints about a new show during their recent live tour in South Africa, where Hammond suggested that they would soon be working from America.

According to the UK’s London Evening Standard, the Amazon deal commits the presenters to three seasons of the show, which has not yet been named.

Work on the first season is reportedly expected to start in the Autumn.

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Ex-Top Gear hosts head to Amazon TV