EXCLUSIVE: The team behind Amazon’s The Grand Tour is on the brink of striking a production deal that will see them tying up with Expectation, the BBC Studios-backed production company founded by former Endemol President Tim Hincks and ex-ITV content chief Peter Fincham.
The deal is still being finalized, but Deadline has learned that Expectation will house the production of The Grand Tour as well as other projects from Jeremy Clarkson and executive producer Andy Wilman.
We have heard that Wilman and his team have already moved into Expectation’s office in Notting Hill, West London, as the final touches are applied to the agreement.
Talks have been ongoing for some time and Expectation’s chief operating officer Alexia Edwards is already the director of a company, named Grand Tour Productions, with Zoe Brewer, who is the director of production on The Grand Tour/Chump Productions.
Once finalized, the Expectation tie-up will likely result in the closure of W Chump & Sons, the indie established by Wilman, Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May in 2015 to make The Grand Tour. Chump Holdings has already been shut down, but other companies with the Chump name remain operational.
One source said it will free Wilman and The Grand Tour team from the burden of running a production company so they can focus on making shows.
The team is in production on the fourth series of Amazon’s popular motoring show, which is being reshaped, with the studio format being ditched in favor of a series of road trips, like the two-part Colombia special they did in season three.
Clarkson, Hammond, and May are also splintering off to do solo projects. Clarkson’s upcoming I Bought A Farm will be an Expectation production, for example, with Amazon expected to confirm the series in the coming weeks. But the deal is non-exclusive, so the presenters are free to work with other production outfits.
Hammond’s next Amazon show, a six-part series with Mythbusters star Tory Belleci, is being made by Chimp Productions, the company he owns with his wife Amanda. James May, meanwhile, is making travelogue Our Man In… Japan with James May for the streamer with Plum Pictures, an indie with whom he has collaborated on BBC shows in the past, such as James May’s Toy Stories.
Wilman has an established relationship with Fincham, the co-founder of Expectation, from their time together at the BBC. Along with Clarkson, Hammond, and May, he visited Fincham’s house when they were courting interest in their next venture after leaving Top Gear and the BBC in 2015. Fincham was the director of television at ITV at the time, but could not do a deal because of a non-compete clause in their BBC contract.
Fincham founded Expectation in 2017 with former Endemol Shine Group President Hincks. It is currently making Sky One comedy Intelligence, starring David Schwimmer, and BBC Two drama Guilt starring Catastrophe’s Mark Bonnar.