The old saying goes "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But nobody ever lays out the related and arguably more logistical saying, "Make sure the fixed product is at least as successful as it was before it broke." Following the Top Gear fracas involving former presenter Jeremy Clarkson, The BBC brought in a whole new team of hosts to its rebooted version of the show, and it looks like that era has already come to an end with now-former host Chris Evans stepping down amid rumors of backstage controversies. Here's how Evans announced it.
I guess it's not shocking that the news came in a Twitter post, since that's how a lot of stories with negative angles get revealed, but it's still somewhat shocking in general. News of Top Gear's behind-the-scenes problems had been publicized, particularly the alleged animosity between Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc, but it all seemed like by-the-books scrapping. Even when LeBlanc supposedly threatened to quit, I guess I just thought it was petty mess that would get swept away. But no.
Just what is hiding behind these smiles?
Not that some head-to-head trash talk between co-hosts was all that went into Evans exiting Top Gear. The show was also dealing with some major ratings problems, and the recent season finale was watched by 1.9 million people, a record-low audience that was smaller than any crowd that watched any episodes during Jeremy Clarkson's long span. Not that Evans' shoulders are the ones holding all that weight, but those shoulders also weren't the ones bringing in millions of new viewers, either.
And it's indeed possible that Chris Evans was more to blame for the ratings than most. He'd also recently been the subject of some particularly awful accusations from a former co-worker who said he exposed his genitals in front of her and groped her breasts. (Claims that were mirrored by others who allege the host had a penchant for flashing people on set.) Evans isn't admitting anything, and the BBC is on his side, though police will soon be investigating the matter. I guess that's why he chose to go so polite with his Twitter announcement.
All that mess that happened with Jeremy Clarkson, who will eventually be hosting an expensive new car show for Amazon now that his Top Gear business is all said and done, is probably starting to look a less like like a reason for termination to those at the BBC now that it's proven harder for the show to match those past ratings.I mean, even if nobody there actually says it, I'm sure someone is thinking it.
With Top Gear USA bowing out on History after its own recent finale, the king of all car shows is starting to show its age. Will the producers be able to turn things around before next season gets here? We'll have to keep the engine revving while we wait.