The departure of Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear had fans of the show crying crocodile tears over the fate of their favorite politically incorrect host. James May and Richard Hammond opted to follow him out the door and the trio has landed a hefty contract for a new show with Amazon. Clarkson is set to make $15 million a year at his new gig.
Amazon is paying handsomely for all three hosts and former Top Gear producer Andy Wilman to recreate their magic without the BBC. Sadly, the Stig was also left behind, but it’s hard to imagine they won’t come up with some pseudo-Stig on their new program.
Clarkson’s new contract will make him the highest paid television host in the UK with his fellow presenters making a bit less. Hammond, May, and Wilman will all be taking home around $11 million per year. Looks like those guys are going to have to tighten their belts and possibly park one less fancy car in their driveways.
According to Autoblog, there will be 36 episodes of the unnamed Amazon show which works out to a cost of about $1.225 million per episode. The numbers are ridiculous, even more so when you see how much less was spent to make Top Gear.
The BBC is publicly funded, so they do not have the same deep pockets as a company like Amazon. Clarkson made $1.53 million per year on Top Gear so his new salary is close to ten times greater. Hammond and May made less at the BBC, too, taking home about half as much as Clarkson. They’re still making less than he is, but the gap has narrowed.
The big question is will it be worth the money? The trio had something amazing going with Top Gear. The show was a huge success and, love them or hate them, they got a lot of people interested in cars. There are some who thought the show was losing its edge, which may be true, but it was still a huge success when Clarkson got the axe.
There’s already a new Top Gear host with news of co-hosts expected any day. They’ve got big shoes to fill, but Clarkson, Hammond, and May have an equally difficult task. They’ve left behind the format they knew and will have to recreate it, but differently, on their new program.
We’ll have to wait awhile to see if they pull it off. The new show doesn’t even have a name yet and won’t be on the air until sometime next year.