The broadcaster made the announcement Tuesday, adding that Evans had signed a three-year deal to front a new lineup for the flagship show, considered the BBC’s most valuable franchise. It added that production on season 23 of the series would commence in the coming weeks, with broadcasting in the U.K. and overseas due for early 2016.
“I’m thrilled, Top Gear is my favorite program of all time,” said Evans in a statement. “Created by a host of brilliant minds who love cars and understand how to make the massively complicated come across as fun, devil-may-care and effortless. When in fact, of course, it’s anything but and that’s the genius of Top Gear‘s global success.”
Evan added that he would do everything he could “to respect what has gone on before and take the show forward,” possibly as a nod to those who feared the program wouldn’t be the same without former host Jeremy Clarkson.
“I’m so delighted that Chris will be presenting the next series of Top Gear,” said Kim Shillinglaw, controller of BBC Two and BBC Four. “His knowledge of and passion for cars is well-known, and combined with his sheer inventiveness and cheeky unpredictability he is the perfect choice to take our much-loved show into the future.”
Evans had previously been the bookies’ favorite to take the helm of the show, replacing Clarkson who was controversially fired earlier this year after punching a producer. However, he initially ruled himself out, saying the prospect of him joining the show “was never going to happen.”