Jeremy Clarkson confirmed his return to television with a new car show. He will be joined by former “Top Gear” co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May.
According to Daily Mirror, although the network that will host the show has not yet been decided, sources have indicated that the trio of former “Top Gear” hosts, with former Executive Producer Andy Wilman, are “very close” to confirming a deal with Netflix, which is home to award-winning and critically acclaimed shows such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the new Black.”
The move comes after BBC decided to take radio DJ Chris Evans aboard as the new host. Top Gear’s 23rd season, which will be the first to not feature Clarkson since 2000, will see a lineup of new hosts.
According to the Sunday Times, the new Clarkson car show will premier some time after March of next year.
The last season of “Top Gear” came to an abrupt end following the suspension and expulsion of Clarkson. Only seven out of the scheduled nine episodes of the show had aired.
In the wake of Clarkson’s dismissal, co-hosts Hammond and May bowed out of the show by deciding to not renew their BBC contracts. Executive Producer Wilman also voluntarily left the show.
The findings of an inquiry into the matter revealed that Clarkson had punched Oisin Tymon, a producer of the show. Clarkson was also involved in a controversy where he was accused for making racist and sexist comments.
“I had a meeting with a BBC executive last week and they asked if I’d come back to Top Gear,” Clarkson was quoted. “But it was never an option, even with one million people signing the Bring Back Clarkson petition – for which I was extremely humbled. Too much has gone on. After I’d been compared to Jimmy Savile by someone from the BBC and it was splashed all over a Sunday newspaper, how could I go back?
“The spotlight would have been on me and the show would end up being neutered. It would have been very difficult to do anything without interference. It would have been impossible to make the show I’d want to make.”
The massive success of “Top Gear” – recognized by Guinness World as the most watched factual television program in the world, with 350 million weekly viewers – is credited to Clarkson, whose nearly three decade stint came to an abrupt end soon after the controversy.
The popularity of “Top Gear” is also highlighted by the numerous international spinoffs it has spawned, in addition to having a live stadium tour, a successful magazine, and a website to its name.
For the 23rd season of “Top Gear”, Evans hinted that the new jobs might be available for roles outside that of a presenter.
He said, “You could be auditioning to be a driver. You could be auditioning to be a film reporter. Or you could be auditioning to be a co-host.”
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