A few days after Jeremy Clarkson ended weeks of speculation and confirmed that his new car show had landed at Amazon, reuniting him with his former Top Gear colleagues James May and Richard Hammond for an Amazon Prime series, Amazon execs got asked what ground rules, if any, they’d set for Clarkson in terms of language, slurs and staff assaults.
Clarkson, whose BBC contract was allowed to expire after he assaulted Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon, confirmed via Twitter ” “I’m very excited to announce that Hammond, May and I have signed a deal with @AmazonVideo.” Former Top Gear exec producer Andy Wilman will also return for the as-yet-unnamed show, which will go into production in time to drop next year.
Amazon Studios chief Roy Price said this morning at TCA he prefers to “not think a lot” about such things, in re questions about Clarkson’s slurs and physical altercations. He did reveal, however, that he feels “very bullish” that fans around the world are going to love the show.
“With all due respect,” shot back a TV critic, given that Clarkson’s former boss, BBC, felt along the way it had to apologize or explain to reporters and viewers after Clarkson made various remarks about Mexicans, and Asians, and women, and, of course that getting physical incident, “have you had discussions what what he can say or not say”, the critic said, adding, or is the plan to just hope he doesn’t “mess up”?
“I can’t comment on details of the discussion,” or the contract,” Price responded. But, he admitted, “we’re bullish about the show and think it will turn out well.”
The deal was considered a coup for Amazon, despite the cloud of controversy that hung over Clarkson’s exit from BBC, because Netflix, ITV and Sky, all had been spoken of as possible landing posts at different times for the instantly recognizable global brand, noted Deadline.
One reporter in the hall questioned why Amazon had decided to “go after so hard” the filmmaker who came with Allen’s particularly controversies. Most recently, after his tribute at the Golden Globe Awards in 2014, Ronan Farrow tweeted that he’d missed the tribute and wondered “did they put in the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?”
“Our focus is on the fact that he is a great filmmaker and storyteller, and so we look forward to the show in 2016,” Price said.
One reporter wondered why other show creators have to go through Amazon’s “democratic pilot process” – pilots drop and customers vote as to what should go to series – but Allen got a straight-to-multiple-episode order. Amazon drama chief Morgan Wandell gave another answer that frustrated the reporters, that time with seeking-the-best-shows talk.
Still, Wandall later insisted Amazon’s process for picking programs is a better model than that of other networks, noting the number of creators who should be up on the TCA stage during this summer slog, but are not, “because a network president’s kid said they watched a pilot and didn’t like it very much.”
That shut them up.