The audience have won this round. Chris Evans will see his Top Gear role reduced after a slew of negative reviews and poor viewing figures. Evans was the controversial choice to headline the revamped motoring show on BBC Two after the departure of Jeremy Clarksob, Richard Hammond and James May — and he has been less than popular.
The third episode of the new series was the first to feature respected motoring journalists Rory Reid and Chris Harris, who received extremely positive reviews after the debut. However, they were watched by only 2.37 million, a drop of nearly half a million from the previous week. This, according to The Telegraph, will lead to Evans’s role being scaled back.
Reid won his role as presenter via a public audition while Harris has a big following on YouTube. According to the report, Evans and Matt LeBlanc will continue to ‘anchor,’ but more pre-recorded material will feature Reid and Harris.
Reid wrote on Twitter yesterday: “We are on the main show every Sunday now.”
The Telegraph reports that Evans’ debut episode was rated the worst show on terrestrial television for the weekend it aired, with an Audience Appreciation Score of just 60 out of 100. Impartial viewers have agreed that the show has improved since Evans’ hyperactive debut, but it may not be enough to endear him sufficiently towards the fans.
Meanwhile, LeBlanc has admitted that he only took the role as co-presenter because he didn’t have another job going at the moment.
“Episodes was coming to an end and I needed a job. And I said – why not?” the actor joked. “It is a lot of fun. I was a big fan of it before and then I went on it to promote Episodes and did a good time in the car. I set the record. And then when they were looking for new hosts, they said let’s get that guy; he is pretty quick, I guess.”
“In the UK and London the roads are so narrow because the roads were built for horses and carts,” he said. “So here (in the US) if you make a mistake get wide you hit bushes and trees, while there if you get wide and go offline you hit a thousand-year-old church and are like ‘Oh I am so sorry’.” Let’s hope he’s not drawing from personal experience there.