Just a week after the announcement that The Grand Tour will debut in November, Top Gear announces its future will be driven by Matt LeBlanc.
After months of speculation following the departure of Chris Evans as lead presenter, the BBC announced its decision on the future of Top Gear. The signing of Matt LeBlanc for two seasons as lead presenter solidifies its future.
In a world that seems to not be able to agree on anything, the hatred of Chris Evans as host of Top Gear brought people from all over the world together. Evans was almost universally hated from the first episode he presented.
It did not take long once the last episode aired for Evans to find his way off Top Gear. Then the speculation began on who would replace the ginger BBC2 radio host. Choices from adding F1’s Jenson Button to shutting down the long-running show were debated.
It seemed the safest direction for the venerable car show was to not replace Evans and stick with the remaining cast. The status of LeBlanc was in question when his new TV sitcom had been ordered by CBS. The announcement of the signing of the former Friends star sets the team.
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Top Gear will now return to its traditional three person presenting team. Matt will be the lead along with Chris Harris and Rory Reid. Both Harris and Reid received high praise for their work in their freshmen seasons on Top Gear. Eddie Jordan and Sabine Schmitz well continue to appear in a supporting manner.
There is an opportunity for Top Gear to regain its footing with the stabilization of the cast. The Grand Tour premieres on Amazon Prime in November. It will be interesting to see the reaction fans have to the former presenter’s show. The BBC has forbidden it to use several of the most popular elements of Top Gear.
With the return of Top Gear to its more traditional format, fans disappointed in The Grand Tour might enjoy the familiarity of their old favorite. By not adding another high-profile presenter, the expectations of Top Gear this season will be more realistic.
The most intriguing aspect will be how far does the BBC push Top Gear back to its roots. Will the test track return to its original layout? What about a star in a reasonably priced car? The news section was cut last season as well. All those are features The Grand Tour cannot use that the fans missed.
If the show can get back to its more historic format, the comparisons to The Grand Tour will be reduced. The identity of the shows can separate and grown on their own. In the end, I have to imagine that is what both shows are hoping for.
As someone who is hoping The Grand Tour is great and still loves Top Gear, I hope both can survive. Actually, I hope both can succeed and continue for a long time. For me, the more great car shows the better. The signing of Matt LeBlanc I think is a step in the right direction for Top Gear.