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Netflix Enters 'Top Gear' Streaming Car Race

13 Apr, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

From left, Matt LeBlanc, Chris Evans and The Stig

SVOD leader says it has international rights to the automobile reality show, which it aims to stream against a competing show on Amazon Prime Video

Netflix claims to have select international license rights to the BBC’s revamped “Top Gear,” the 38-year-old automobile enthusiast TV show that was rebooted in 2002 and reportedly generates 350 million viewers a week globally. Last year, the show saw headliner Jeremy Clarkson and fellow presenters James May and Richard Hammond depart for a new untitled motoring show launching on Amazon Prime Video this fall.

The outspoken Clarkson started the exodus after being fired following a physical confrontation with one of the show’s producers. May and Hammond left “Top Gear” shortly thereafter.

The new BBC “Top Gear,” which launches next month, features British presenter Chris Evans along with actor Matt LeBlanc (“Friends”) and former Formula One car owner Eddie Jordan.

Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos told The Guardian Netflix has rights to the new “Top Gear” if the show falls under an existing license agreement with BBC.

“Theoretically, it should follow the deal of the old format where ‘Top Gear’ is still under the terms of the old deal,” Sarandos said.

“So in many parts of the world we already have it picked up and we’ll continue to talk to them about doing it as well. The show is very popular on Netflix as you can imagine. There’s a change in format but people definitely prefer the British ‘Top Gear’ over the local 'Top Gear' [spin-off] in almost every country in the world.”

Regardless, BBC Home Entertainment April 19 is releasing “Top Gear 22,” featuring Clarkson, May and Hammond, on DVD for $14.99.

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