7 Sep 2015

Netflix: Top Gear trio 'not worth the money'

9:42 am on 7 September 2015

A senior executive at Netflix says the streaming service declined to sign up the former presenters of Top Gear because "it wasn't worth the money".

(From left) Former Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson.

(From left) Former Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson. Photo: AFP

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May left the BBC earlier this year after Clarkson was fired for hitting a producer.

They recently signed a "very, very, very expensive" deal with Amazon Prime.

But rival service Netflix has claimed the presenters "sold themselves for way more money" than they are worth.

"We have past episodes of Top Gear, so we have a pretty good gauge of what audiences like," the company's chief product officer, Neil Hunt, told UK website Digital Spy in an interview.

"Our buying decisions tend to be somewhat data-driven. We have a lot of data to get the deals we want.

"Clearly it wasn't worth the money to make the deal."

Mr Hunt later clarified his comments in a statement, saying: "There is an audience for everything and it is not up to us to judge if Amazon has paid too much or not."

British broadcaster BT Sport previously said it, too, had declined to bid for the Top Gear trio.

Managing director Delia Bushell told The Guardian: "To be honest I didn't consider it. It just wasn't right for us.

"It's a fantastic franchise, but it made more sense for a global player like Netflix because Top Gear has huge US revenues as well."

Multi-million pound budget

Clarkson was suspended on 10 March, following an "unprovoked physical attack" with a Top Gear producer in a Yorkshire hotel. It was said to have occurred because no hot food was provided after a day's filming.

Following an internal investigation, the BBC decided not to renew the presenter's contract. His co-hosts then followed him in leaving the show.

They have now signed up to Amazon Prime to make a new car-themed programme, along with producer Andy Wilman, who also quit the BBC following Clarkson's "fracas".

Mr Wilman has said they had all agreed to a deal with Amazon because "they'll give us the freedom to make the programme we want... there's a budget to produce programmes of the quality we want and this is the future".

Although the show's budget has not been confirmed, the three-series, 36-episode deal was rumoured to have cost Amazon as much as $385.9 million.

The Top Gear brand will continue with Chris Evans in charge.

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