Former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have signed a blockbuster $250m deal to present a new car show on Amazon’s streaming video service, Amazon Prime, in 2016. It’s obvious to assume that this new motoring show will most likely be like Top Gear. The programme will air for the first time next year and it will be produced by former Top Gear executive Andy Wilman, an old school friend of Jeremy, who is credited with revamping the format and turning it into the world’s most successful factual TV show. This deal follows their departure from the hit BBC Two show earlier this year.
Clarkson’s contract was not renewed after 27 years of doing the show, following an “unprovoked physical attack” on a Top Gear producer, Oisin Tymon. The BBC then faced the challange of trying to reinvent its motorcar show, which generates an estimated £150m in commercial revenues each year from global sales. His co-hosts, Richard and James, then followed him in leaving the show.
Amazon declined to comment on the price but people familiar with the situation told the Financial Times the deal was worth $250m for 36 episodes over three years.
The deal was negotiated by Ari Emanuel’s William Morris Endeavor group. It is one of the largest ever agreed by a digital streaming group as Netflix paid $100m for two seasons of House of Cards.
In a statement from Amazon, Clarkson said:
“I feel like I’ve climbed out of a biplane and into a spaceship.”
I’m very excited to announce that Hammond, May and I have signed a deal with .@AmazonVideo
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) July 30, 2015
“Amazon? Oh yes. I have already been there. I got bitten by a bullet ant.” And May added: “We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn’t it?”
I’ve got a job I’ve got a job I’ve got a job. Haircut, clean jeans and practice driving again. Forrrrwaaaaaaaard!!
— Richard Hammond (@RichardHammond) July 30, 2015
— James May (@MrJamesMay) July 30, 2015
Wilman told the Radio Times the team would begin working on the new series as soon as they return from their summer holidays. He said they agreed a deal with Amazon because
“they’ll give us the freedom to make the programme we want…there’s a budget to produce programmes of the quality we want and this is the future”.
Wilman added the format of the new show would contain
“themes people will be familiar with”. “I can’t tell you how good it feels to get the chance to produce something from scratch,” he said. “We’re all really excited. No one telling us what we can and can’t do, just us hopefully producing great programmes. It feels really liberating.”
So, is he going to be delivering my parcels then? pic.twitter.com/wycmyijPD8
— Em Clarkson (@EmClarkson1) July 30, 2015
The unnamed show, will only be available only to subscribers of Amazon Prime, which offers perks such as next-day deliveries, online photo-storage and video and music streaming.
Amazon’s video streaming service is included with the £79-a-year Prime service. That compares with Netflix’s UK prices of between £72 and £108 a year.
Enders Analysis estimates that 4 per cent of British homes have Amazon Prime, compared with 16 per cent that have Netflix.
Meanwhile, Top Gear will continue on BBC Two, with Chris Evans among the new hosts.
Lisa Clark, who worked with Evans on The Big Breakfast, has just been announced as the show’s new producer.
“Lisa is as good as it gets when it comes to making big, important television shows,”
Will You Be Watching The New Show?