The CEO of Amazon has admitted that signing up former Top Gear trio Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May for a new online motoring show didn’t come cheap – in fact, it was “very, very, very expensive”.
Jeff Bezos, who founded online giant Amazon, declined to say how much the three presenters were being paid for the programme, but the deal is said to be worth around £160 million over three years. Plus, he said “very” three times, so you know there’s a lot of cash involved in this one!
The first series of the new show, which also includes former executive producer of Top Gear Andy Wilman, is due to launch next year on the online retailer’s streaming video service Amazon Prime. And, because Amazon is a U.S-owned internet brand, the deal conveniently swerves around a ban on Clarkson doing a motoring show with another UK broadcaster until 2017.
Bezos noted that he was “very excited” by the acquisition of the trio but also told the Sunday Telegraph that Clarkson, May and Hammond were “worth a lot, and they know it”.
Speaking about Amazon Prime and the new Clarkson show, Bezos said:
It can’t just be one show, it has to be a number of things. We have a lot of things in the pipeline, which I think viewers in the UK and around the world are going to love. And I think Clarkson’s new show is going to be one of those. I think we’re in a golden age of television, so if you go back in time even just five years, you couldn’t get A-list talent to do TV serials, or, if you could, it was a rare thing. But that’s flipped completely.
However, there is one snag for Top Gear fans – you’ll have to sign up to Amazon’s £79-a-year Prime service before you can watch Clarkson, May and Hammond causing trouble on the new channel.
Some will no doubt say that the trio are worth every penny but only time will tell on that one! We reckon the BBC are worried though, especially with the rumours that Amazon may run Clarkson and co’s new show head-to-head against the revamped Chris Evans fronted Top Gear!