Amazon has been slowly but surely growing its programming slate. This month the streaming service added The Grand Tour, the brand new series from former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Previously, the top-watched Amazon program was the well-reviewed Man in the High Castle, but we've just learned The Grand Tour has now superseded that scripted program. As well it should.
The Grand Tour just hit the schedule at the end of last week, and by Monday Amazon had good news. According to the subscription streaming service, the debut episode of the new automobile-based series is already the highest-rated premiere for an Amazon series in the streaming service's history. Helping this were a slew of new Amazon Prime subscribers, as the streaming service is also noting that the day that Jeremy Clarkson and co's show hit the schedule was the highest day for new subscribers sign-ups other than the famed "Prime Day."
Annoyingly, like Netflix, Amazon has adopted the tack of not telling us exactly how many original viewers are watching each episode. Of course, ratings are different for shows that are not on an advertising model and don't need to be viewed live each week, but it would still be nice to have a gauge for how many people are watching The Grand Tour. Did 1 million total viewers catch The Grand Tour premiere? Did 5 million? Did 10? More than 10,000 people have already reviewed the first episode, so you would think it would be a pretty substantial number, but we just have no way to gauge.
Unlike Netflix shows, The Grand Tour will be released on a weekly basis, with new episodes hitting the schedule on Fridays. Right now, the new episodes can be viewed in U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan; later the episodes will be expanding to more than 200 countries worldwide. The new global way Amazon will start releasing shows should help the service's originals reach whole new audiences.
The Grand Tour joins a steady lineup of originals that also includes Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch, the aforementioned Man in the High Castle, Red Oaks, Transparent and the soon-to-be cancelled Hand of God. Its real competition is, of course, Top Gear, which is still airing on the BBC in the wake of the three leads moving elsewhere. The reimagined version of Top Gear has gone through some growing pains during its first season and is replacing host Chris Evans; still, it will be back on the schedule next TV season. As for Amazon's new show, it seems the bets have paid off, as The Grand Tour is reportedly pretty expensive to produce.
Stay tuned on Fridays to see if the rest of the episodes are as beautiful and engaging as the first. And check out what else is headed to TV at midseason with our premiere schedule.