Top Gear Stars Change the TV World Says Amazon CEO
Last month, Amazon reached a marquee deal with former Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May –along with ex-show runner Andy Wilman– to create a similar car-based show as part of an original series for their steaming services, Amazon Prime Video.
It was a landmark move for Amazon, who is slowly but surely transforming from being just an online superstore, to a major player in the streaming world once dominated by Netflix.
Sunday, The Telegraph ran an interview with Amazon mogul and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos about acquiring the heart of Top Gear, the car world’s insanely popular television program.
For Bezos, the television industry is rapidly changing, with there being a bigger focus on the small screen then ever before. Add in the rapidly growing technology around us, and streaming as a medium for TV is booming.
Asked if the new programme will come to define Prime, Bezos says: “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.”
Bezos noted Amazon’s deal with award-winning actor Jeffrey Tambor as another game-changer for Prime, but Top Gear takes it one step further with the previous establishment of Clarkson, Hammond and May as superstars.
The trio helped make Top Gear a monster for The BBC, winning awards and dominating television ratings before an ugly breakup earlier this year. Clarkson was fired after getting in an altercation with a crew member in March. Not long after, co-presenters Hammond and May, along with executive producer Wilman departed on their own accord to link back up as a dynamic force in the television landscape.
Together, they shopped around but ultimately settled on Bezos’s Amazon. The deal, announced in July, will see the former Top Gear stars feature in three 12-episode seasons beginning in Fall 2016.
Bezos declined to comment on the financials of the deal, but did tell the Telegraph, “They’re worth a lot and they know it.”