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Top Gear Revs Back Up With A New Cast

Richard Goldschmidt
Matt LeBlanc, Arqiva British Academy Television Awards, Royal Festival Hall London UK, 12 may 2013, (Photo by Richard Goldschmidt)

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are perhaps the most famous names one could mention to “gearheads,” the name automotive enthusiasts have come to affectionately embrace. Anyone remotely familiar with “Top Gear,” the wildly popular program the three British men presented for more than a decade, is also familiar with its untimely demise last year. 

The beloved program, which was viewed on the BBC by one of the largest worldwide audiences of any television show, came to a halt after front man Clarkson entered into a physical altercation with a producer over an allegedly non-serious matter. 

While the show itself was not canceled, Clarkson was fired, which prompted co-hosts May and Hammond along with longtime producer Andy Wilman to depart the show with him. 

Fast forward to late 2015 and early 2016, and the wheels are spinning for both Clarkson and crew as well as the BBC. In a highly publicized, multi-million dollar deal, Amazon Prime Studios recruited the ex-presenters and producer to film effectively the same show for the company’s Prime-based streaming service. 

However, the BBC hasn’t given up on the globally recognized nameplate it still owns, and there are some new hosts being tapped to bring the program back to life. Some were suspected choices and others totally out of left field for many long time fans. 

As reported by Top Gear’s website,, the show’s new hosts are British broadcaster Chris Evans (not Captain America), Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris, Sabine Schmitz, Eddie Jordan and Rory Reid. The latter two names may be less known to the international audience, but are well known F1 and automotive journalists respectively. 

Many will recognize Sabine Schmitz, the blonde Nürburgring “queen,” featured multiple times in segments with the original crew. Rounding out the famous-in-Britain contingent are Chris Evans and Chris Harris, famous for radio hosting in the United Kingdom and for having a popular YouTube channel, respectively. 

A slightly out-of-left field choice for many was Matt LeBlanc; beloved for his role as Joey Tribbiani in the long-running sitcom “Friends,” LeBlanc is a known car enthusiast but likely a surprise pick for fans of the series.

Many outlets have already circulated images and articles of the new crew filming, meaning that we could see new episodes of “Top Gear” fairly soon, following a period of uncertainty regarding the brand’s future. 

What is certain, however, is that Clarkson, Hammond and May (along with producer Wilman) will certainly give even five hosts a run for their money in ratings. 

Further, if we know anything about the original boys and the fact that they’re publicly friends with many of the new hosts, fans of both programs are surely in for some tongue-in-cheek references both on screen and on social media. Look for both shows to premiere sometime in 2016.  

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