The BBC has confirmed that Matt LeBlanc will return to host Top Gear under a two-season deal. The first will air next year. LeBlanc co-fronted the most recent season of the flagship BBC Two motoring show with Chris Evans who abruptly departed in July. The next season, which is Cycle 24, will see LeBlanc joined by members of Cycle 23’s team, Chris Harris and Rory Reid, along with regular appearances from Eddie Jordan, Sabine Schmitz and The Stig.
The Top Gear reboot this year was dogged by poor ratings, debuting to a lackluster 4.4M in the overnights in May, and declining or wavering after. The season finale averaged 1.9M viewers. It was just after that episode aired that Evans tweeted his goodbyes saying he had given it his “best shot” but that “standing aside” was the “best thing” he could do to “help the cause.”
LeBlanc was “hugely popular” with viewers of Cycle 23, BBC Studios Director Mark Linsey said today citing the Friends and Episodes alum’s “humor, warmth and obvious passion for cars and for the show.” As of early July, LeBlanc’s first season notched up over 30M views in the UK and was sold to 130 territories worldwide.
The two-year deal for Top Gear keeps LeBlanc with one foot each in the U.S. and the UK. His CBS comedy series, Man With A Plan, is due to premiere on October 24. LeBlanc stars as a contractor who learns that raising his kids is more challenging than expected when his wife goes back to her job as a medical lab technician.
The actor told TCA in August that Man With A Plan is his “priority.” At the time, he said he wasn’t “sure what’s happening on Top Gear yet” but that he was keen to return.
Meanwhile, former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are due to debut their new Amazon Prime series, The Grand Tour, on November 18.