Former Top Gear presenters in demand
Axed Clarkson ‘ready to reveal new motoring show’
Amazon, ITV and Netflix are vying to sign Clarkson, who was ousted from the BBC2 show in March after punching one of its producers.
According to media reports he will be joined in the new shows by his former Top Gear co-presenters, Richard Hammond and James May. All three have spent their time talking to rival stations since Clarkson’s contract was not renewed following a BBC inquiry.
ITV has been regarded as the front runner because it will reach a bigger audience. It is said to be keen to sign up the trio for a new ratings hit after losing Uefa Champions League football to BT.
Howeverm Netflix has more than 60 million subscribers worldwide, more than 2 million of them in the UK, although it is said to have looked carefully at the potential for a backlash from those who opposed signing Clarkson.
In a new twist Clarkson claimed a BBC executive approached him about returning to the show just days before Radio Two presenter Chris Evans was unveiled as his successor.
Clarkson told the Sun: “I had a meeting with a BBC executive last week and they asked if I’d come back to Top Gear. But it was never an option … too much has gone on. The spotlight would have been on me and the show would end up being neutered. It would be difficult to do anything without interference. It would have been impossible to make the show I’d want to make.”
Evans, meanwhile, is hunting for co-presenter for the re-launched series and it is thought at least one will be female in a move to break its ‘boys behaving badly’ reputation.