Even though Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May won't be returning to Top Gear, at least not anytime soon, former Friends star Matt LeBlanc most certainly will be. Even though his co-host from last season, BBC radio host Chris Evans, decided to step down, the show is pressing on without him. Like it or not, we are getting two more seasons worth of Matt LeBlanc hosted Top Gear.
BBC reported the news on Monday that the actor had officially inked a new deal to continue hosting the very popular car-centric show for at least the next two seasons. Following last season, which was the first to feature Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans as hosts, there was some uncertainty as to whether or not either host would return. Director of BBC Studios Mark Linsey seemed quite happy that LeBlanc decided to return. Here is what he had to say following the announcement.
"Matt was hugely popular with Top Gear viewers last series with his humour, warmth and obvious passion for cars and for the show, so I couldn't be more delighted that he's agreed to come back and do more for us."
There was originally some talk that the network would have Matt LeBlanc hosting the show alone if he agreed to return, but the report also confirmed that he will have some company next season. Chris Harris and Rory Reid, hosts of Extra Gear, will be hosting the show with LeBlanc. The pair will continue to host Extra Gear while also appearing on Top Gear. Eddie Jordan, Sabine Schmitz and, of course, The Stig will all be making regular appearances as well.
Matt LeBlanc secured his new gig because the former trio of Top Gear hosts have moved on. Jeremy Clarkson had been fired after reportedly punching a producer of the show, which was the last straw after a string of incidents behind the scenes over the years. At that point, James May and Richard Hammond followed. Amazon stepped in and the three are set to debut their new show, The Grand Tour, exclusively on Amazon Prime November 18. While we haven't seen much from the show yet, it does pretty much seem like it could have just as easily been titled "Top Gear, but on Amazon." The show has been picked up by Amazon for three seasons, so the gang will be busy for quite some time.
Top Gear is one of the most watched shows on the planet and even earned a Guinness World Record for becoming the most watched factual show in the world in 2013. Ratings took a pretty heavy dip with the new hosts last season after the premiere episode, but the BBC seems to be hoping that Matt LeBlanc and the Extra Gear gang will be able to find their footing next season. No premiere date has been announced yet for season 24 of Top Gear, but now that the hosts are locked down, we will surely be hearing more about it soon.