Last week Amazon announced that former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May signed a deal to star in a new driving show that’s expected to stream exclusively on their Instant Video streaming service.
Now, inside sources have unveiled just how much Amazon is spending on the show, and it’s unbelievable.
Almost every television network in the world was bidding for this show. However, in a telling interview with Broadcast magazine, producer Andy Wilman revealed that it was the promise of an incredible £160 million ($248 million) budget from Amazon that sealed the deal.
“Everyone we have talked to has told us ‘They [Amazon] leave you alone to make your show,’ Wilman said about Amazon. “That’s a big one for us – we don’t like interference, we don’t need to be policed.”
Netflix was one of hundreds of networks and services that in the running. British television network and BBC rival ITV also came close to securing the show but Wilman explained, “we couldn’t do it.”
In the interview, Wilman also explained that he, alongside the trio of presenters, had three central demands before they would sign any deal. Editorial freedom, a big budget, and no car advertisements.
With Amazon, it seems they get everything they wanted.
The team committed to 36 episodes of the new car show, which set the total budget at £4.5 million ($7 million) per episode, the show will be the biggest Amazon original to date, as well as one of Britain’s most expensive shows of all time.
Fans of the original Top Gear will unfortunately have to do without the iconic Top Gear test track at the Dunsfold Aerodrome, which remains under lease to the BBC. The Stig is also the intellectual property of the BBC, so he will be staying behind as well.
However, the show will include “more time to yak about cars” with longer indoor studio segments, as well as more of the international challenges and adventures the gang has become infamous for.
The production company behind the new show is also rumored to be headhunting many of the producers and cinematographers behind the unique visual aesthetic of the original top gear, so hopefully some of that screen magic will follow the gang over to Amazon as well.
The show, which has yet to be titled, is expected to have a run time of about one hour an a weekly release schedule that will see episodes début simultaneously in the U.S., U.K., and Germany.
The first show is expected to hit Amazon Instant Video in the fall of 2016.