Jeremy Clarkson Blocked from Launching ITV Auto Show until April 2017

Jeremy Clarkson Blocked from Launching ITV
Neil P. Mockford/FilmMagic

The race to sign the new motoring show from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, the former presenters at hit BBC show “Top Gear,” took a fresh twist Tuesday when it emerged that the three are blocked from appearing in a rival auto show on U.K. broadcaster ITV until April 2017 because of a no-compete clause in their old BBC contracts.

The news is significant because the BBC is in the process of revamping “Top Gear,” fronted by radio disc jockey Chris Evans, which it will re-launch in April next year. This would give the show a year to establish itself with audiences before the ITV rival got off the grid. Evans presents the hit Channel 4 show “TFI Friday,” which is popular with younger adults.

Daily Mirror, quoting a source, said the clause would not stop them from signing with online platforms like Netflix or Amazon, which strengthens their hands in the negotiations.

The paper’s source said: “Basically they could make a show for ITV, but not one about cars. A clause stops them leaving and making a rival.

“It means Netflix or Amazon are favorites to sign up the team. There is a feeling that if they wait two years it gives Chris Evans a chance to steal a march on them and get his new ‘Top Gear’ show up and running, which means he would be settled in by then.

“It’s a difficult decision but they hope to make up their minds soon after a number of meetings. ITV have made them a great offer.”

The BBC claims “Top Gear,” which commands a worldwide audience estimated at more than 350 million, is the world’s most popular reality program.

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 “Top Gear” executive producer Andy 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.

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  1. Its interesting to find out if the non compete clause refers to only Clarkson’s leaving, because he didn’t leave. He was “fired” or “contract not renewed. Hammond and May contracts were also not renewed and did not sign on to a new contract. If the non compete clause just referred to the trio leaving, then they may have a clear run as the three did not leave. There may be hope. Maybe a lawyer is reading this, hopefully.

  2. Edward Simon 2 says:

    Anything for money? So afraid the competition will force the BBC to lose money? The BBC loses money hand-over-fist since Tony Blair took over BBC’s management and placed his loyal associate (butt-kisser). The BBC has lost its edge in producing innovative programs [Doctor Who (more a Soap Opera then earlier sci-fi), Star Trek, The Next Generation]. It will continue its downward spiral until it closes or sells to its competitors [the government is not afraid of selling BBC to cover its cost or develop revenue (its thinks) short-term]. Is that why Hammond and May sold their motorcycles at auction? Receive the highest prices to cover living costs until the trios return.

  3. Sam Jackson says:

    A non-compete clause is pretty much standard in any contract. hard to imagine Clarkson was so stupid he didn’t know. Oh wait, this is the “celebrity” that thinks rules and laws are for the peasants, not him.

    • Rex says:

      Yeah, by the time these old farts (who look even older than they really are!) get their show on broadcast television, they’ll be even older farts. Great run while it lasted, boys, and before one of you was revealed to have uncontrollable rage and entitlement issues on the public dime. Might I suggest to them a sitcom about three washed-up, entitled old farts with teased-up hairstyles who dress half their age and drive scooters around an retirement home having wacky adventures while pretending to be in exotic lands at taxpayer expense?

    • Petr Marcel says:

      Eat shit and die, asshole.

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