Former 'Top Gear' Team Heading to Amazon
"I feel like I've climbed out of a bi-plane and into a spaceship," said Jeremy Clarkson on the three-season deal.
After months of speculation, Jeremy Clarkson and his former Top Gear cohorts finally have a new motoring show and a new home.
Clarkson, plus his fellow hosts Richard Hammond and James May, have been snapped up by Amazon for a three-season deal for its streaming service, Prime Instant Video. Amazon and Netflix had been the favorites to take the trio, who were behind one of the world's most successful (and the BBC's most lucrative) factual TV shows after it emerged that a clause in their contact with the broadcaster stipulated that they couldn't make another motoring program in the U.K. for two years, thus ruling out previous frontrunner ITV. An ITV spokesman declined to comment on Thursday's news and the network's interest in the show.
The new show, which is as yet unnamed, will be produced by Andy Wilman, Top Gear's longtime executive producer, and is due to go into production shortly for airing in 2016, according to Amazon.
"I feel like I've climbed out of a bi-plane and into a spaceship," said Clarkson on the news, offering yet another dig at his former employer.
On Thursday morning, Clarkson tweeted the news.
I'm very excited to announce that Hammond, May and I have signed a deal with .@AmazonVideo— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) July 30, 2015
He followed this up a few minutes later in his usual manner.
.@AmazonVideoUK now saying I can't be their chief drone pilot. Apparently they want us to make a car show.— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) July 30, 2015
Clarkson was famously fired by the BBC earlier in the year after punching a producer, with Hammond and May announcing that they wouldn't be returning without him shortly afterwards. The broadcaster later revealed that its hit motoring show would be revamped with British TV and radio personality Chris Evans at the helm.
“Customers told us they wanted to see the team back on screen, and we are excited to make that happen,” said Jay Marine, vice president of Amazon Prime Video EU. “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.”
Said co-host May on the new deal: “We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn't it?”
Clarkson, who was with the BBC for 27 years, had a fractious relationship with his former employer, regularly generating headlines for his outspoken comments and remarks deemed racially offensive. Last year he avoided disciplinary action over alleged use of the N-word in a video, while in October the entire Top Gear team were forced to flee from a shoot in Argentina after Clarkson upset locals with a car license plate that referred to the country's war with the U.K. in the 1980s.
Many will be curious to see how Amazon handles any potential fallout from its new star.