When the BBC sacked its star Top Gear presenter back in March following a bust-up with one of the show’s producers, the future of the program — a significant global success and cash cow for the corporation — was uncertain.
The BBC quickly decided that the brand was too important to abandon, and announced British TV and radio presenter Chris Evans as the show’s new host. In an interview over the weekend, 49-year-old Evans finally revealed the launch date of the all-new Top Gear as May 29.
Evans, who’s also made a name for himself over the years as a TV producer, signed a three-year deal to front the show. He said filming of the 16-episode season has already started, though he declined to offer any details on the format of the new Top Gear. It is, however, expected to be markedly different to the Clarkson-Hammond-May version that proved so popular around the world with gearheads and casual viewers alike, before it was taken off air.
Evans had originally ruled himself out of joining the show, but after discussing an offer with friends and family, he finally decided to jump in the driving seat.
Announcing his decision over the summer, Evans said, “[Top Gear] is the biggest television show in the world, my favorite television show of all time — you know how much of a fan I am of the show.” He added “I love producing TV, you know the kind of TV I love to produce, and so I said yes.”
As for Top Gear‘s old guard, they took to the stage in London on Sunday night for their final live show after a run that took it to 32 cities in 19 countries, with around 2.2 million fans attending the gigs, according to the Guardian.
The trio have already started filming for a new car show for Amazon’s Prime streaming video service, which could land around the same time as Evans’ Top Gear offering; a tasty prospect for car fans who’ve been missing their favorite shows and presenters.
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos said the deal to get the boys on board was a “very, very, very expensive” one. He didn’t give a figure, though insiders told the Financial Times it cost the Seattle-based company $250 million for 36 episodes over three years.