LONDON — Jeremy Clarkson and his former teammates from the BBC’s hit auto show “Top Gear” look likely to attach themselves to a U.S. production company or streaming platform in order to get round a “non-compete” clause in their old BBC contracts, according to a report.
The contractual clause would bar them from producing a motoring show for a U.K. rival TV network, such as ITV, until 2017, but the team — presenters Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, and former executive producer of “Top Gear” Andy Wilman — believe they have found a loophole, according to a source quoted by the Daily Mirror.
The team said that if they produce the show for a company from the U.S., or any other non-British company, the U.K. licensing rights could then be sold to ITV.
The source said: “It has been a battle with all the legal complications, but after some solid advice, Jeremy believes they’ll successfully get around the issues, despite the BBC making desperate efforts to stop them.”
One option would be to allow Netflix to stream the new show a day before traditional broadcasters.
The source said: “There are a few options on the table, including a split deal with Netflix, which should allow the guys to get back to doing what they do best and make great television.”
Negotiating with U.S.-based companies has forced Clarkson to avoid drinking too much alcohol, so he can keep a clear head during negotiations, he revealed last month.
He said: “While I try to find a new job, I’ve reassessed my drinking strategy. Californians have a habit of ringing at 11 p.m., and I couldn’t think as straight as they do with their leaves and mineral water existence if I was halfway through my third bottle of Leoube.”