Amazon Payed $250 Million To Get Clarkson, Hammond And May
As three of the most recognizable and charismatic television hosts in the world, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were well-paid during their tenures with the BBC and Top Gear, but now they’ve set themselves up for an even bigger payday. Amazon is paying the trio the equivalent of $250 million dollars for a three-year deal.
"I feel like I’ve climbed out of a biplane and into a spaceship," said Clarkson in a statement from Amazon. “Amazon? Oh yes. I have already been there. I got bitten by a bullet ant,” quipped Hammond, with May adding, in his typically dry tone, “We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn’t it?”
It’s a massive deal for Clarkson, Hammond and May (who could also be mistaken for a ’70s prog-rock band), and it includes long-time Top Gear producer Andy Wilman, who will run the yet-to-be-named show. The new show will air globally on the Amazon Prime video streaming service starting in 2016. The new deal also sidesteps a no-compete clause in their old contract, preventing them from appearing on other British networks for two years.
"Customers told us they wanted to see the team back on screen, and we are excited to make that happen,” said Amazon Prime Video EU vice-president, Jay Marine. "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."
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Why it matters
For reference, Netflix, which was also in the running to land the former Top Gear hosts, paid $100 million for two seasons of its hit show, House of Cards. Rumors suggest that Amazon and Netflix were locked in a bidding war to land the deal. Considering how frequently Top Gear is streamed in every corner of the globe, Amazon shouldn’t have to wait long to see a return on investment.
The BBC, meanwhile, has tapped radio personality and white Ferrari enthusiast Chris Evans to host Top Gear starting next season. TV host Jodie Kidd, Isle of Man TT legend Guy Martin and current Formula 1 driver Jenson Button are all rumored as possibilities for the cohost positions.