'Top Gear' hosts move to Amazon: Why this is controversial

Former 'Top Gear' hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond are reportedly set to host a car program for Amazon. The BBC, which produces 'Top Gear,' decided against renewing Clarkson's contract earlier this year.

Stefan Rousseau/AP
Former 'Top Gear' hosts (from l.) James May, Jeremy Clarkson, and Richard Hammond stand outside No.10 Downing Street in London in 2011.

The personalities of “Top Gear” are set to appear on a show for Amazon.

Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond will reportedly host a new car show for Amazon Prime. The trio’s former show was on the BBC and featured the three of them discussing and trying out different cars.

The first season of the Amazon show with Clarkson, May, and Hammond will debut in 2016.

While “Top” was on the air for decades, the show went through a revamp in 2002, eventually becoming the most-viewed factual show worldwide. However, Clarkson was fired earlier this year after a “physical and verbal incident” between him and a “Top” producer. May and Hammond decided not to continue on the show without Clarkson. 

“Top” had been the subject of controversy for some time, with one critic writing that the “essence of ‘Top Gear’ lies in childish pranks, ‘politically incorrect’ jokes, [and] smutty comments” and another writing that the show consists of “drooling over European supercars while making xenophobic remarks.”

However, more than one million people signed a petition asking that Clarkson be brought back to “Top.” Amazon Prime Video EU vice-president Jay Marine referenced this demand, saying, “Customers told us they wanted to see the team back on screen, and we are excited to make that happen.”

Streaming services bringing back shows that are canceled is nothing new now, as seen by Hulu's revival of Fox’s “The Mindy Project,” Yahoo Screen's decision to bring back NBC’s “Community,” and the appearance of Fox show “Arrested Development” on Netflix. However, those shows were merely canceled by their networks – there wasn’t a messy breakup, at least not in public. Amazon's decision to create a new show for "Top" hosts comes with more controversy given the circumstances of Clarkson’s departure. 

Time will tell whether Clarkson continues to court controversy at Amazon.

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