Matt LeBlanc will take over the reins after Chris Evans’ resignation, but who would do well beside LeBlanc?

The world of Top Gear was shaken to its core after the abrupt departure of lead host Chris Evans, who announced via Twitter that he was stepping down in the wake of record low ratings for the once proud motoring show.

The stunning announcement was made after the final episode of the season, which was universally panned for desperately trying to revive the gimmick that worked so well for the three previous hosts. Evans was largely blamed for the underwhelming season and it didn’t help one bit that he was also involved in a series of off-air incidents that have plagued the show ever since it was revamped. Among the issues tied to Evans include claims that he was a bully on set and he had pushed a senior producer out the door. And that doesn’t even take into account the overwhelmingly negative reviews he received during the season for trying too hard to replicate Clarkson’s magnetic charisma and failing miserably at it.

The piling of issues finally took its toll on all parties, and while it’s not clear whether he voluntarily stepped down or he was sacked by the BBC, what’s important is that he won’t be returning for the next season. That of course opens up a lot of speculation on who will take the reins from Evans as the lead presenter of the show. The early signs point to LeBlanc himself assuming that role and one of the other co-hosts stepping up and taking the other studio role.

Having said that, we at TopSpeed think the BBC is merely trying to let this issue simmer down before seeking a co-host to line up alongside Joey Tribbianni. There have been no mentions on possible names as we speak, but we’ve compiled a list of people who we think will do well alongside LeBlanc, or at least a lot better than Chris Evans.

Continue after the jump to read who we think are possible candidates to replace Chris Evans at Top Gear.

A look at the possible candidates to replace Chris Evans on Top Gear

Steve Coogan – He’s an English actor and comedian who a lot of Americans may remember for his roles in Tropic Thunder, Night at the Museum and The Other Guys. More importantly, he also happens to be a car enthusiast, having amassed a collection of Ferraris in the past. If those credentials aren’t enough, Coogan has also been a guest at Top Gear numerous times and his brother, Brendan, was actually a Top Gear host all the way back in 1999. His name was also mentioned as one of the possible replacements for Clarkson before the gig was given to Chris Evans and he himself admitted that he’s recognized more for his appearances on Top Gear than his self-created alter ego, Alan Partridge.

Guy Martin – Another name that has been linked to Top Gear in the past is Guy Martin, the crazy-haired daredevil who already has the credentials of being a host in a motoring show. Martin also has the personality to fit right in with LeBlanc and he knows a lot about cars to understand the kind of responsibility that goes with becoming the new face of Top Gear. That said, Martin’s also a bit moody and he has exhibited signs of being a loose cannon in the past. In other words, he’s a lot like Clarkson, which can go in either direction given the way Evans tried and failed to adapt the same style. It would be interesting to have him on board.

Rowan Atkinson – If the BBC really wants to swing for the fences with a famous name to go with a famous love for cars, tapping Mr. Bean himself to co-host Top Gear with Matt LeBlanc would be a huge signing. At this point, everybody knows Atkinson’s auto credentials so there’s no point rehashing it. Also, it’s worth remembering that it was LeBlanc who actually bumped Atkinson out of the fastest lap for a celebrity in the Reasonably-Priced Car segment. How’s that for built-in TV bad blood between the two?

Chris Harris – Here’s an idea. Why not just bump up Chris Harris from his role on Extra Gear and have him co-host the show with LeBlanc. Harris was one of the few bright spots of the season and he already has a built-in fan base of auto enthusiasts who know and swear by his knowledge of the automotive industry. Plus, he has a much calmer demeanor about himself that is far from forced or threatening. Those two things ended up playing a role in Evans’ downfall but Harris is a lot more natural in Top Gear’s environment.

Jay Leno – This would’ve been a perfect fit for one of the most famous auto collectors in the world. Unfortunately, Leno already has too many commitments on his plate, including his involvement in Jay Leno’s Garage for NBC. The second season of the show just started airing and certain legalities may keep him from being able to juggle two motoring shows at once. Besides, I don’t think the BBC, for one reason or another, would want to have two Americans headlining a British motoring show.

Matthew Perry – We don’t know for certain if Matthew Perry is a car enthusiast, but wouldn’t it be awesome to have him and LeBlanc reunite on another show? It would be Chandler and Joey all over again, only this time, they’re talking about cars instead of whatever inane thing they were up to on Friends. Okay, this isn’t a serious choice at all; we just want to see LeBlanc and Perry in the same show again. And while they’re at it, why not replace the entire Top Gear crew with the cast of Friends? Jennifer Aniston would definitely be a fantastic addition...

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: