Top Gear announce their new host team including £2m/year Matt LeBlanc
After losing the Great British Bake Off to Channel 4, the BBC can't afford to let any more of its big titles slip through its fingers.
Which likely explains why it was announced today that former Friends star and co-host of the last series of Top Gear, Matt LeBlanc, will front the next series of the show, after being offered a fat stack of cash to do so. The deal, rumoured to be worth between £1.5 and £2 million, will see LeBlanc hosting the BBC 2 show for at least two years when the show returns in 2017.
Chris Evans famously quit the show after one poorly-received series which attracted the lowest ever ratings for the long-running show - a mere 1.9 million people tuned in for the finale. Motoring journalists Chris Harris and Rory Reid will join Matt when the show returns, featuring "regular appearances" from Eddie Jordan, Sabine Schmitz and of course, The Stig.
BBC Two Channel Editor Patrick Holland said of the announcement: "I am thrilled that Matt LeBlanc is returning to Top Gear. He's a huge talent whose love of cars is infectious. I can't wait for the series to return to BBC Two next year."
Being pretty much the only good thing about the last series of Top Gear, it's perhaps unsurprising that the Beeb were keen to get LeBlanc back in the driving seat, but the show's production will have to work around his busy schedule shooting Man With A Plan, his new US sitcom. LeBlanc's new role at the helm of Top Gear will see him handle the celebrity interviews, a welcome relief after the severe mangling that former host Evans gave them.
Though the rumoured cost of bagging LeBlanc for the next two years will undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows, we will probably never know exactly how much he's being paid, as the star's wage will be paid through BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the broadcaster. This effectively dodges the new government rules requiring the BBC to disclose the salaries of stars and employees being paid over £150,000.
Meanwhile, former Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are set to debut their new Amazon show The Grand Tour on November 18th. We can only imagine what they're thinking at this time, but it's probably something along the lines of: "AHAHAHAHAHA."