Matt LeBlanc Cites Travel and Time Commitments as Reasons Behind Top Gear Exit
Joey Tribbiani is leaving the show after two years as the frontmanby Kirby Garlitos, on
For the third time in three years, Top Gear is losing its frontman as Friends and Man with a Plan star Matt LeBlanc has announced plans to leave the show at the conclusion of the upcoming season. His included “extensive travel” and “time commitment” as the biggest issues behind his decision to leave the show behind. Just like that, the show’s hosting lineup is being thrown into turmoil.
This is a big blow for the show, which relied on LeBlanc’s global appeal and star quality
Just when it felt like Top Gear finally had a semblance of the stability, it lost with the departures of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, Matt LeBlanc’s exit once again puts the show in a precarious position. This is a big blow for the show, which relied on LeBlanc’s global appeal and star quality to make up for the institutional foundation Clarkson, Hammond, and May created before their abrupt exits in 2015.
It’s a bad hand for Top Gear, but it’s also easy to understand why LeBlanc is leaving. The comedian said that it’s been “great fun” to host the show with Chris Harris and Rory Reid, but that “time commitment and extensive travel…takes me away from my family and friends more than I’m comfortable with.” Can’t blame him for that, especially when you consider that LeBlanc’s acting career is really based in the U.S. as the star of the CBS sitcom, Man with a Plan.
BBC Two controller Patrick Holland was one of the first people to comment on LeBlanc’s departure, and it appears that there are no ill-feelings from the network regarding the actor’s decision. "I want to thank the fabulous Matt LeBlanc for being a brilliant co-host on Top Gear,” Holland said. "Matt has thrown himself into the show with real passion, revealing his extraordinary car knowledge and a willingness to get down and dirty. We were always going to be borrowing him from his day job as one of the top comic actors in Hollywood, so I wish him all the very best.”
All told, LeBlanc spent four seasons on the show, with three of them as the frontman host
All told, LeBlanc spent four seasons on the show, with three of them as the frontman host. His first season coincided with Chris Evans’ only season as the frontman, which was derided extensively by the media and fans. His short-lived turn on the show opened the door for LeBlanc to take center stage where he has been received positively by the show’s fans and critics.
With his exit, the focus now turns on who’s going to replace him on the show. The easy response would be to elevate either Harris or Reid, but both men are better served as complementary pieces to someone who has a bigger fanbase and a global recognition. Matt LeBlanc filled that role easily. Now that he’s leaving, BBC needs to find someone who can fill those big shoes.
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