The BBC has anointed Matt LeBlanc in charge of their signature motoring show, “Top Gear” after the resignation [sacking] of former co-presenter, Chris Evans. The Beeb will put the lone American, LeBlanc, in the sole presenter role when the show returns to film its 24th series in September. Joining LeBlanc will be contributors Chris Harris, Eddie Jordan, Rory Reid and Sabine Schmitz, as no replacement for Evans is expected to be named.
Besides selecting the lone American to be the sole presenter of a British motoring show, the selection of LeBlanc is also interesting for LeBlanc’s schedule as he is also slated to star in a CBS comedy series “Man With a Plan,” this autumn. Contractually for LeBlanc, BBC’s “Top Gear” is to play second fiddle to CBS in the scheduling for LeBlanc’s time. LeBlanc has signed a one-year contract with the BBC with an option for a second season.
It may eventually be a moot point for LeBlanc, as the show has had mostly poor ratings since the departure of former presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May – including a Series 23 season-low 1.9 million overnight viewers in the U.K. – fewer than half the show’s average from the previous season with Clarkson, Hammond and May. In the USA, where the show is aired on BBC America, the first five episodes of season 24 averaged a meager 379,000 viewers — well below all previous seasons.
Clarkson, Hammond and May’s new motoring show – “The Grand Tour” – is scheduled to debut in Autumn 2016 on Amazon.