LONDON — Speculation is mounting in the U.K. that the former presenters of the BBC’s hit auto show “Top Gear,” Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, and the show’s former executive producer, Andy Wilman, are about to reveal the home for their new motoring show, with Netflix and ITV the most likely destinations.
Wilman and the former hosts of “Top Gear,” which commands a worldwide audience estimated at more than 350 million, are set to unveil the new show “within the next few weeks,” according to the Sunday Times, where Clarkson has a column. The new show will debut “sometime after next March,” the article claimed.
On Saturday, Clarkson wrote in his column for the Sun newspaper that he’d had plenty of offers to make a rival show. “I’ll miss the BBC, I really will. Because for every silly idiot, there were ten good guys who are mad and wonderful and good at what they do,” he said. “But I won’t miss making a car show. Because other broadcasters are available so I don’t have to stop doing that. See you on the flip side.”
The Daily Mirror had previously quoted a source as claiming that Clarkson, May and Hammond, along with Wilman, were “very close” to signing a “big-money deal” with Netflix. A Netflix spokesperson said Wednesday that the company did not have any comment at this time. But Clarkson’s reference to “the flip side” could suggest a move to ITV is in the cards.
In March, the BBC decided not to renew Clarkson’s contract for “Top Gear” after he assaulted the program’s producer Oisin Tymon while on location. Subsequently, May, Hammond and Wilman decided to quit the show too. In May, it was reported that the four had met with Peter Fincham, the programming chief at commercial broadcaster ITV, about setting up camp there.
Clarkson recently claimed that the BBC had asked him to return to “Top Gear,” and he had turned the offer down, but the broadcaster denied this had happened. Last week, the BBC offered the role of lead presenter to BBC radio disc jockey Chris Evans, who presents the hit Channel 4 show “TFI Friday.”
The final “Top Gear” featuring Clarkson, May and Hammond as hosts will air in the U.K. on Sunday. The new season, with Evans and his yet-to-be-found co-hosts at the helm, is set to start in April.