Why The New Top Gear Had Trouble During Its First Season

Matt Leblanc Top Gear BBC America

Almost three years ago, the BBC gave walking papers to former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson, and when other presenters Richard Hammond and James May left with him, the network was forced to reboot. While the series rebounded, scoring former Friends star Matt LeBlanc, there was no denying that fans of the series missed the show's original three hosts. BBC America President Sarah Barnett acknowledged this in a recent interview, saying that the new hosts were under a serious microscope that made success nearly impossible. According to Barnett...

The previous team [Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May] really built the audience, and it's in a period of reinvention. Things don't happen overnight. I think that the [new] presenters --- Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reed, Chris Harris --- are really talented and developing their chemistry. But it's tough when you have that level of scrutiny that the show had last season. Nothing can withstand that.

It's clear Sarah Barnett and BBC America are not deluded in acknowledging the following seasons of Top Gear will continue to be an uphill battle. Of course, Matt LeBlanc's inaugural season was made that much tougher by the fact that Amazon would snatch up the former hosts and give them the platform to produce their rival series The Grand Tour. It's tough when someone has to fill the shoes of a team that practically built a franchise and it's even tougher to do that when that team is still working on a similar project elsewhere.

That said, Sarah Barnett expressed to THR that Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reed, and Chris Harris are super talented and find their audience eventually. That lineup has changed from the first reboot season as formerly signed presenter Chris Evans (the British one, not Captain America) stepped down. Reports surfaced that LeBlanc and Evans were having issues on the set and while we don't know the truth of the situation, the rumors certainly didn't help the series bounce back in its rating's slide.

Chris Evans wasn't the only thing to change in Season 24 of Top Gear either, as a new logo and stage were created for the 2017 season perhaps to shake off the negative response from fans and critics the season prior. The ratings and viewership were still nowhere close to the final season featuring the original Top Gear crew, but with the head of BBC America willing to openly admit the show is in a period of reinvention, it's safe to assume they're not expecting things to spontaneously change overnight.

Top Gear is expected to air Season 25 on BBC America sometime in 2018. For a look at other upcoming shows set to air in the near future, head on over to our midseason premiere guide and fall premiere guide. For a look at all the shows that were canceled in the past year, visit our cancellation guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.