Well, that took a little longer than we expected, but it now appears the former Top Gear hosts have a new gig after being snatched up by Amazon Prime. The media company, moving more and more into original programming, will reportedly pay $250 million for a 36-episode run from former the former BBC stars. That equals three seasons of shows, if you’re counting, and they start hitting the airwaves next year.
Earlier this year, the Top Gear hosts, namely Jeremy Clarkson, ran afoul of the BBC after an”unprovoked physical attack” with a show producer. He was axed and his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May decided not to return to the show without him.
In a statement from Amazon, Clarkson said: “I feel like I’ve climbed out of a biplane and into a spaceship.”
Richard Hammond added: “Amazon? Oh yes. I have already been there. I got bitten by a bullet ant.”
James May said: “We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn’t it?”
A deal with Amazon also neatly sidesteps the clause in the presenters’ BBC contracts that prevented them making a show for a UK broadcaster for two years.
“Customers told us they wanted to see the team back on screen, and we are excited to make that happen,” said Jay Marine, Vice President of Amazon Prime Video EU. “Millions of Prime members are already enjoying our ground-breaking original shows. We can’t wait to see what Jeremy, Richard, James and the team will create in what is sure to be one of the most globally anticipated shows of 2016.”
“I can’t tell you how good it feels to get the chance to produce something from scratch,” producer Andy Wilman said. “We’re all really excited. No one telling us what we can and can’t do, just us hopefully producing great programs. It feels really liberating.”
To put things in perspective, the dwarfs the $100 million Netflix paid for two, 13-episode seasons of its political hit, House of Cards, and proves that Amazon is deadly serious about developing a successful rival to the new, Chris Evans-led Top Gear. The show will only be available to members of the company’s Prime Instant Video streaming service, which in the US costs $99 a year.
The show will go into production this fall.