Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May sign to Amazon

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Top Gear’ hosts move to Amazon: Why this is controversial.

Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond will present a new car show for Amazon Prime Video after signing a “landmark global TV deal”. The three car enthusiasts were the former hosts of the hit BBC car show “Top Gear” until Jeremy Clarkson was sacked after a “fracas” with a producer and his co-hosts refused to return to the show without him.

The 55-year-old star had hosted the successful car series as a trio alongside Richard Hammond and James May until earlier this year when Jeremy was fired over punching a producer. The trio could not return to traditional television to create a new show as there was a clause in their BBC contracts forbidding them from hosting a car show on a UK television channel for the next two years. We can’t wait to see what Jeremy, Richard, James and the team will create in what is sure to be one of the most globally anticipated shows of 2016.” Fans have reacted to the news on Twitter, with several conveying their disappointment that they will have to fork out £79 a year for an Amazon Prime subscription. After leaving the BBC in March, the trio were forced to change the name of their live show to Clarkson, Hammond & May Live – and strip all Top Gear branding from it. According to Variety, the company made a “sizable offer—said to be for multiple seasons.” It’s possible that the asking price simply grew too high for Netflix, which says it calculates the “efficiency” of its content to maximize the ratio of viewing time to cost.

It has been reported that Richard then nearly told the 15,000 strong audience but was stopped by his fellow presenters, and then teased over the American accent. Explaining the attractions of Amazon after years with the BBC, Wilman told Broadcast: “Everyone we have talked to has said to us, ‘They leave you alone to make your show.’ In a separate interview with Radio Times, he said: “No-one telling us what we can and can’t do, just us hopefully producing great programmes – it feels really liberating.” The format will be familiar to Top Gear viewers, with a mix of studio-based chat and international adventures. It’s a good match: Amazon is a fairly popular service in the UK, and Top Gear, in addition to being a hit TV show, also performed well on the internet. Wilman said the three presenters would have “more time to yak” and their friendship would remain the show’s central element. “You can’t reinvent the sideways, Last of the Summer Wine-type relationship they have because that is outside of television, that is theirs.

The show has yet to be named, but London Evening Standard newspaper reports the deal sees a minimum of three series and that an Amazon insider calls the move a “significant investment”. Some Amazon series, including the comedy drama Transparent, are made available all in one go so subscribers can “binge-watch” an entire series if they choose. Top Gear was relaunched in 2002 and the three men made it a hit all around the globe, with famous names including Hugh Grant, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana and Sienna Miller all jumping at the chance to get involved.

Not to mention that Amazon is free from advertising pressure, so there should be more leeway for the divisive Clarkson to be himself, provided he refrains from punching people. Asked if he would like the show to go head-to-head with Top Gear, Wilman admitted: “The child in me probably would,” but said there was room for two motoring programmes. Amazon does not disclose its subscriber numbers, but the most recent estimates indicate it has about 40 to 50 million Prime subscribers around the world, many of whom don’t take advantage of Prime’s video offerings.

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