The Top Gear hosts may be reuniting on Netflix, and there’s even a rumored show title
Following his well publicized firing by the BBC, former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson may be returning to TV via Netflix, and he may be joined by co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond.
Although this is still very much unconfirmed, The Mirror is reporting that the proposed show may even have a name: “House of Cars.”
Netflix would be a perfect fit for the former Top Gear hosts – in fact, it may be ideally suited. Following Clarkson’s departure from the BBC, ITV was said to be pursuing him to appear in a new car-based show. Details on that are scarce, but one of the major issues with that would be the limitations a network like ITV would face.
Unlike the BBC and Netflix, ITV is similar to most networks in that it survives on add revenue. If Clarkson, May, and Hammond go on a rant about how horrible a Toyota is, for example, Toyota may turn around and pull advertising. The benefits of increased viewership from a new show wouldn’t outstrip the possible loss of millions in ad revenue.
“The headache with ITV is going to be the potential conflicts of interest with advertisers. What would they do if Jaguar or Volvo had a sponsorship deal but they wanted to berate its latest new car?” One unnamed source told The Mirror. “Jeremy doesn’t like being told what to do. It could cause huge arguments.”
For Netflix, this could be a massive win. The streaming channel is immune to the anger of the auto industry, Top Gear is an international hit and Netflix has a global platform, and it would likely increase both prestige and viewership numbers. Given that shows like Daredevil and House of Cards are said to cost as much as any show on TV, the money shouldn’t be an issue for Netflix – at least not any more than it would be for any other network.
It would potentially be the best fit for Clarkson as well. Hammond and May could be penned in by non-compete clauses with the BBC, but those are likely limited to other UK networks. Given that both hosts have all but confirmed that they wouldn’t return to the show without Clarkson, this could give them an out to reteam with him without burning any bridges at the BBC (at least not legally).
A Netflix show would also have the added benefit of making the hosts relatively bulletproof. Where the BBC is beholden to the UK citizens that help support it through taxes, Netflix can put up a few warnings and shrug off criticisms by claiming people have to seek the show out.
The only real downside to this deal is the lack of reach Netflix has compared to the BBC. Many of the best Top Gear shows involved amazing cars, and frequently took the hosts to remote areas. Having the BBC name to throw around makes it much easier to borrow a million dollar car, or to bring a film crew into places like Patagonia and Burma.
That is going to be an issue regardless of where Clarkson lands, but the still young Netflix doesn’t have anywhere near the clout that many other established networks have.
The name is interesting as well, if true. It is a direct play on the name of the Netflix TV show House of Cards (which was coincidentally a remake of a BBC show). That is cute, but it may also cause some confusion regarding one of Netflix’s flagship shows.
Even if this is all 100-percent correct, it is far from a done deal. Although it sucks for fans of Top Gear, Clarkson getting himself fired may end up being the best thing he could have possibly done for himself.
Last year alone, Top Gear earned the BBC around $79 million globally. That alone will give several networks plenty of reasons to pursue the star.