ITV, Netflix in Race to Sign ‘Top Gear’ Trio for New Show

Top Gear

The race to sign the three former “Top Gear” hosts for a new automotive-focused unscripted series is said to be heading into the final laps, with ITV and Netflix in the lead. Hulu is also said to be in the mix.

It’s no secret that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have been in negotiations for weeks to set up a new show that would compete with the BBC mainstay, which is being relaunched with a new host, Chris Evans.

Clarkson was fired from “Top Gear” in March after physically assaulting a producer during a location shoot. He’d hosted the show in various incarnations since 1988 but for an absence from 1999 until the series relaunched in 2002.

WME is understood to be among those advising the threesome as they finalize their next chapter. Also joining the new program will be longtime producer Andy Wilman.

Hammond and May declined to renew their contracts with “Top Gear” after Clarkson’s hasty exit. It was that trio that took “Top Gear” to new heights thanks to the camaraderie and competition elements added to the format. During the past decade “Top Gear” became one of the BBC’s most-watched and most widely exported programs.

Netflix is said to have made a sizable offer — said to be for multiple seasons — to land the show. The SVOD giant is in the midst of an expansion push in the U.K. and Europe. The international profile of “Top Gear” combined with the strong U.K. interest in the trio’s comeback effort makes it a no-brainer for Netflix. Netflix currently carries past seasons of “Top Gear” going back to 2011.

Hulu Plus has streaming rights to “Top Gear” episodes going back to 2003, when the Clarkson, Hammond and May era of the show began. That gives Hulu a natural interest in pursuing the new show. But Hulu is said to be a less attractive option for the trio compared to ITV, with its heft in the U.K. and international distribution capabilities, or Netflix, which has embarked on an aggressive worldwide expansion.

Clarkson and May spurred a new round of speculation about a deal coming together soon with social-media posts on Friday that were read by fans as hints about the new show.

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  1. NL says:

    I’ve been someone who has been defending Amazon Prime & the guys. But then when I went online (I already have a membership, $79 a year), I realized how much of the stuff I wanted to see was actually not “free.” They offer a few things for free, but many (most!) shows were something like “$1.99” per episode! That’s ridiculous! They price a single show as if it were a movie — not that I would buy 99.99% of what they offer even if it WERE an actual movie. So, even though Clarkson, Hammond & May will, presumably, be free, I’ve joined the side of the fans who think Amazon Prime is a total rip-off. I have to hope Amazon Prime The Rip-Off, is an epic fail.

  2. Bev Matthews says:

    Please re launch on mainstreem tv. Not everyone does the streaming. I love love love the top gear trio

  3. Bill3030 says:

    ITV has advertisers, Netflix does not, it seems like a no brainer if they want to be as free to bash on the cars as they were on the BBC. You can’t upset the people who will pay for the ad time on your show.

  4. Art Mooney says:

    I say do ITV then sell it to Netflix – and get paid TWICE.

  5. Patrick says:

    I say do Netflix! Biggest streaming platform on the world.

  6. Tony says:

    I think Netflix is a mistake as a lot of the UK don’t have Netflix and those that do alot think it’s a crap service

    • xerandin says:

      In January 2013, Netflix reported that it had added two million U.S. customers during the fourth quarter of 2012 with a total of 27.1 million U.S. streaming customers, and 29.4 million total streaming customers.

      It’s July 2015 and Netflix has probably grown considerably. To any person that doesn’t have Netflix, I only have one question. Why do you not have Netflix? $8/month? That’s beyond the best value in TV/Movie entertainment and there are no commercials…Seriously, the fact that every adult isn’t using Netflix really does baffle me.

    • Patrik says:

      This isn’t all about UK dude.. The world is bigger than that…

    • wesley says:

      ITV is UK only, Europe is way bigger then only UK

      • dave says:

        itv would sell it worldwide like the bbc.. look at downtown abbey, thats an ITV show and thats shown worldwide. basically, wherever you can watch top gear now youd still be able to watch it if ITV got it. if netflix got it then only netflix customers would have access. it would have a fraction of the potential viewers. ITV would be the biggest win for the viewers both in the uk and the world.

  7. Si Jones says:

    Judging by the type of comments on this page, it shows that Clarkson’s fans will watch any old rubbish that he’s in. Keep on reading “The Sun” lads.

    • John says:

      I can’t comment on the viewer demographic in the UK. Here in The States, nearly all of my colleagues in various flavors of engineering professions love the UK version of Top Gear. We come from diverse backgrounds and read equally diverse news sources. We almost universally loathe the Americanized version of Top Gear, if only because it seems that the producers feel they have to contrive a certain mindless feel for the show that seems to characterize the rest of American reality TV. The UK version just always seemed more genuine, with personalities not taking themselves seriously at all. Clarkson was a third of this chemistry, and while May and Hammond still make up two thirds of it, the final episode wasn’t the same without Clarkson.

      None of us “lads” (with families and respectable professions – thanks for the age compliment) read “The Sun” or other British tabloids regularly, nor do we frequently read the roughly equivalent American rags.

      Sounds like you’ve got an axe to grind with Clarkson, which is fine, but throwing around ignorant generalizations toward huge demographics you hardly appear to know seems misguided.

  8. Bert says:

    seems unlikely that you watched it anyway Phil Owen. If the producer didn’t feel the need to press charges, who are you to know better? No, what he did was not acceptable, and he lost his job as a result. End of story, move on and leave your baggage behind. That you need to rant on a comments page shows the problem is inside your head, not out here with the rest of us.

    • Vince Morgan says:

      I would imagine the producer was paid a pretty penny to drop the charges. And trying to trivialise the matter shows the problem is in YOUR head. Losing his job obviously means nothing as this article shows he will simply walk into another one. Clarkson is scum, and so are the people who worship him.

      • xerandin says:

        I don’t think it’s so much that people worship Clarkson as much as they just think he’s a comical guy. He does great films/segments driving and reviewing cars and I love watching him.

        The fact that people are so catastrophically and personally insulted by his human errors/mistakes/poor decisions indicates that you think he should be more than a man. That looks more like worship to me.

        Clarkson’s just a funny bloke that loves cars, same as the rest of us.

        If you think he is scum, fine, I don’t care, but where all that judgement is concerned, keep a civil tongue in your head.

  9. Phil Owen says:

    It’s pretty disgusting that any network would hire Clarkson again after what he did. ITV in particular should be ashamed of themselves for even considering it, as should the other two presenters for continuing to work with him. His behaviour is not acceptable and I for one will be boycotting whatever show Clarkson is in.

  10. luther jones says:

    Good for you the BBC never gave you the funds that you needed to do what you wanted and really who’s show was it you three are the ones putting you names and faces on it . And they just penny pinched the show to death . Glad you done it wish I could of seen it . Good for you all hope you get to do it your way

  11. The three musketeers, unflinching. I like them.

    • Geri Lewis says:

      More like The Three Stooges. Entertainment for the unwashed masses who don’t have a brain cell between them.

      • Anthony says:

        And your comment demonstrates what, that you are a Genius? A more intelligent person would have moved on without insulting comment.

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