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With the engine revving on the BBC’s reboot of Top Gear, due to hit screens with its all new lineup of hosts next month, its former host’s rival show, coming to Amazon this fall, appears to have hit a hurdle.
Writing in his column for The Sunday Times, Jeremy Clarkson admitted that he was still struggling to come up with a suitable name for his program and said he has so far spent thousands of pounds consulting lawyers over possible trademarks.
“I spend at least six hours a day in my office — which is insured and smoke-free and resplendent with potted plants — sucking creatively on a corporate Biro as I wait for the daily 3 p.m. ‘Anything yet?’ phone call from Amazon in Los Angeles,” he wrote.
“Every morning, I’d make a £7,000 ($10,000) call to the lawyer with an idea, and every afternoon I’d get a £7,000 reply saying the name was already in use by someone in New Zealand or France or Ukraine. Prime Torque. Autonation. Skid Mark. Everything was a no-no.”
Among the names previously rumored was Gear Knobs, but Clarkson — who was ousted from Top Gear last year after punching a producer — said that name was rejected due to its similarities to his former show’s title.
“We thought it was amusing and hurriedly we put in another £7,000 call to the lawyer,” he wrote. “She said the trademark was available, but it would be an unwise idea, owing to the laws surrounding intellectual property. In short, the BBC not only owns the rights to the Stig and the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car and the Cool Wall, but also to any name that is remotely similar to Top Gear.”
Underlining the difficulties he faced, Clarkson said he needed a name that wasn’t in use or even sounded or looked like any name in use “by any business anywhere in the world.”
And, he added, he also needed a name approved by one Amazon owner Jeff Bezos. “It can’t even be a minor play on the words Top or Gear,” Clarkson said. “Oh, and it had to be a name that was liked by me, our producer, [Richard] Hammond, Eeyore (James May) and a billionaire in Seattle.”
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