Top Gear Re-Ups Matt LeBlanc For Two More Years
Deal is reportedly worth just under $2 millionby Kirby, on
It goes without saying that Top Gear just had one of its most tumultuous seasons. That’s saying something considering that the controversial trio of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond all had nothing to do with it. Now it appears that the worst has passed for the beleaguered show and the BBC is now looking forward to a new season that could return the show back to its prominence. The first order of business in getting to that point is to resign Matt LeBlanc, one of the few standouts from the last season. To its credit, the BBC took care of that quickly by signing the former Friends star to a two-series deal to serve as the main host of Top Gear.
LeBlanc was thrust into the position after the departure of Chris Evans, who many pointed to, right or wrong, as one of the reasons behind the show’s failures last season. With Evans out of the way, LeBlanc takes on the mantle as the main host for the next two series where he will be joined by Chris Harris and Rory Reid. Both Harris and Reid will also continue hosting their show Extra Gear in addition to their duties with Top Gear. Likewise, Sabine Schmitz and Eddie Jordan will also return to the show.
LeBlanc’s two-year deal is reportedly worth £1.5 million, which is about $1.94 million based on current exchange rates. According to British tabloid The Sun, the BBC also agreed to work around LeBlanc’s other projects, most notably his new CBS sitcom Man with a Plan.
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A good decision by the BBC brass
There’s a theory among fans of Top Gear who say that the only reason that Matt LeBlanc shined last season was because was Chris Evans was so bad that LeBlanc immediately garnered a lot of sympathy from fans of the show. That probably explains why BBC Studios director Mark Linsey gushed over LeBlanc’s popularity with viewers of the show, highlighting his “humor, warmth and obvious passion for cars and for the show.”
While I do agree that LeBlanc was great last season, I don’t believe that his popularity came at the expense of Evans. I’ve said before how unfair it was to put the blame from last season’s failures squarely on the shoulders of Evans. Sure, he played a part in it, but to single him out as the single reason behind the show’s struggles was and still is completely unfair.
That said, I am excited to see LeBlanc line up opposite Chris Harris and Rory Reid to make up the new three-man hosting duties of the show. I always thought that one of the reasons why the trio of Clarkson, Hammond, and May worked brilliantly was because as dominating of a personality as Clarkson was, May and Hammond were the perfect foils for him. I don’t know if LeBlanc, Harris, and Reid will have the same kind of chemistry, but I am more hopeful now than I ever was about the future of Top Gear. I like the new direction of the show and having LeBlanc at the wheel should make for a more intriguing dynamic moving forward.