LONDON — Netflix is in talks with BBC Worldwide, the sales arm of the U.K. broadcaster, to acquire the rebooted “Top Gear,” according to reports. The new show is co-hosted by Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc.
BBC Worldwide screened footage from the new show at BBC Worldwide Showcase, an international sales event in Liverpool, England, late last month. Speaking in Liverpool, LeBlanc said that he was seeking to inject some fun into the show. “My thing is more about — when we do the films — to try to find the fun and the funny, and I’m always pitching jokes, and they’re like, ‘Jeez, we got to talk about the car’… I think my leash is going to be getting short really quickly,” he said. (See full story here.)
A spokesman for BBC Worldwide said that the response from international buyers had been very positive. “We already had some pre-sales for new-look ‘Top Gear’ prior to Showcase and the response to us teasing the new series in Liverpool has been fantastic,” he told Variety. “It’s created a real buzz and we’re feeling very confident about it. Many conversations are taking place at the moment but it’s still early days in the sales cycle. We’ll release sales details later this year after the first season has aired in U.K.”
The other members of the on-screen team at the new-look “Top Gear” are motorsport guru and Formula 1 commentator Eddie Jordan, world record-breaking German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, motoring journalist and YouTube petrolhead Chris Harris, and car reviewer and TV host Rory Reid. The new show is set to launch in the U.K. on BBC2 and in the U.S. on BBC America in May.
The Netflix deal would see the revamped “Top Gear” go head to head with Amazon’s new motoring show headlined by former “Top Gear” co-hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, and executive produced by “Top Gear” veteran Andy Wilman. Amazon’s show is set to premiere in the fall.
A representative for Netflix declined to comment on the deal rumor.