After a heavy week in the news, Chris Evans has stepped down from presenting duties of Top Gear.
One day after Top Gear aired its sixth and final episode of the current series, Chris Evans tweeted that he was done with Top Gear. The Radio 2 morning show host has been besieged with criticism of his style and performance on the long running BBC2 automotive program. After reports of a “crisis meeting” with the BBC and reported demands from fellow presenter Matt LeBlanc that it was Evans or him, Evans gracefully stepped away.
With just one series completed since the forced departure of longtime and popular presenter Jeremy Clarkson and the resignations of Richard Hammond and James May, the shows future is back in limbo. The final episode of was only able to attract 1.9 million viewers on BBC2, another historic low and lowest for this series. There have. been no comments or word on the future of LeBlanc or any of the rest of the current cast.
An option would be to move Matt LeBlanc into the lead presenter role and use Rory Reid or Chris Harris as a partner. A return to the traditional three presenter format might be what the show could use. They could bring Eddie Jordan in with LeBlanc and along with either Rory Reid or Chris Harris. That would return the show to a more familiar format that might sooth over the hard feelings that Chris Evans incarnation of the show created.
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Top Gear has been a huge revenue generator for the BBC being syndicated all over the world. The idea of them giving up on the crown jewel of the franchise is unlikely at this point. The more reasonable scenario is for them to try and work with the remaining cast for then next series and see if the absence of Evans help restore the ratings of the venerable show. With the bar now set so low, there chances of success are actually very good.
Another interesting rumor that came up in the wave of criticisms of Evans, was of Formula 1 driver Jenson Button coming onto the show. Even though that never happened, that could now provide a spark to the show and attract an audience that Evans and his incarnation of Top Gear seemed to ignore. Clarkson regularly snuck Formula 1 references into Top Gear and ofter had drivers on as guests. Those were quite popular episodes. Button could provide that audience on a regular basis as a presenter.
Whatever the BBC decides to do, Top Gear will remain in the headlines again for quite some time. Hopefully they make whatever decision they are going to make quickly and get into production of the new series right away. The long break between the last series with Clarkson, Hammond and May and the first with Evans took an obvious toll on the ratings. The BBC cannot afford another ratings hit they can avoid.