Wednesday 7 December 2016

Matt LeBlanc lands €2.3m deal to continue hosting Top Gear after Chris Evans quits

Published 26/09/2016 | 09:36

Matt LeBlanc with a new Rolls-Royce Dawn, during filming for the new series of Top Gear
Matt LeBlanc with a new Rolls-Royce Dawn, during filming for the new series of Top Gear
Matt LeBlanc (left) with Chris Evans and The Stig on Top Gear
Top Gear presenters, from left, Rory Reid, Chris Evans, Matt LeBlanc, Sabine Schmitz and Chris Harris
Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans on the set of ‘Top Gear’
Chris Evans in the new series of Top Gear Photo: Mark Yeoman
Matt LeBlanc is part of the new Top Gear team
Matt LeBlanc (left) with Chris Evans

Matt LeBlanc has reportedly signed a €2.3 million deal to present British motoring TV show Top Gear.

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The former Friends star was signed up as one of six presenters when the show was revamped earlier this year.

According to editors at British newspaper The Sun, with the departure of main presenter Chris Evans after just one series Matt has signed a major new £2 million deal expanding his Top Gear hosting role.

BBC bosses move to secure Matt's services reportedly comes after the broadcaster lost the rights to another of its hit shows, The Great British Bake Off, to rival Channel 4.

Matt LeBlanc (left) with Chris Evans
Matt LeBlanc (left) with Chris Evans

"Bake Off going to Channel 4 was a disaster and a real blow," an insider tells The Sun. "Losing Matt because of a few diary arrangements would have spun Top Gear into crisis yet again."

The actor is currently in Los Angeles filming family sitcom Man With a Plan for U.S. network NBC.

After being revamped in the wake of the axing of longtime host Jeremy Clarkson last year, the show struggled to pull in viewers, resulting in Chris's departure in July.

Despite the new Top Gear's troubles, Matt's presenting style was praised by critics and as a result BBC TV controller Charlotte Moore was reportedly desperate to keep hold of the 49-year-old star.

Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans on the set of ‘Top Gear’
Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans on the set of ‘Top Gear’

"In the end they just wanted to sign up Matt as he's great with the fans and gives the show stability as it's due to start filming within days," the source says.

After the reported new deal Matt looks set to takeover the show's celebrity interview segment.

The insider also says BBC bosses used a Top Gear presenting slot as bait to tempt The Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood with the BBC.

However last week Paul announced he would be moving with the show to Channel 4, despite his fellow judge Mary Berry and presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins quitting.

Top Gear presenters Matt, motor racing entrepreneur Eddie Jordan, racing driver Sabine Schmitz, and motoring journalists Chris Harris and Rory Reid are believed to be starting filming on its latest series to be aired in 2017 soon.

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