Matt LeBlanc Reportedly Issues ‘Top Gear’ Ultimatum
Love it or hate it, this new season of Top Gear is off to a rocky start. While this week’s viewing numbers were much higher than in previous weeks, it’s hard to ignore the chorus of voices online speaking out about what they don’t like. Many of the comments seem to focus on Top Gear’s new leader, Chris Evans (not that one), and now it seems as if he is intolerable to work with, if his costar Matt LeBlanc is to be believed. The show is supposed to start filming its second season in September, and it’s being reported that LeBlanc has told the BBC that he will not return for a new series if Chris Evans isn’t let go.
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Many of the rumors surrounding the revamped motoring program seem to focus squarely on Chris Evans, who seems to have appointed himself the show’s new Jeremy Clarkson. While that was OK in Clarkson’s era of three hosts, this season’ s squad of six hosts plus the Stig makes Evans’ reign so much more obvious and grating. Viewers are not too pleased with how much shouting Evans does, and several of them see him as talking down to the audience while being a mouthpiece for brands on the show. It doesn’t help that on the very first episode, he blatantly cheated to win a friendly competition and would not let it go.
Matt LeBlanc, for his part, has been received as knowledgeable about cars and great fun on screen, even if he is a bit stilted for the in-studio segments. Many commenters have gone so far as to say LeBlanc is the best part of the refreshed series. When other ‘hosts’ are actually given screen time, many of them also draw rave reviews, with many professional reviewers and Twitter users alike asking to see more of all of them, especially Chris Harris and Rory Reid.
While all of these comments are based on on-camera antics, rumors have been flooding the internet of Chris Evans’ behavior off-camera. Unnamed sources at the BBC reported that Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc have not gotten along very well since an incident at London’s Cenotaph got the program accused of being disrespectful to those who died in World War I. Evans has also continued to host his morning radio show, and the added stress has reportedly made Evans rude onset during filming. It doesn’t help that when Top Gear first began airing, Evans took to Twitter to pick fights with angry fans and belittle them.
While the ratings for Top Gear seem to be picking up (for now), it might be in the BBC’s best interest to dump Evans before he poisons the well further. The network already signed the host on for two seasons, but it all comes down to if they want LeBlanc, who is one of the most successful pieces of the new show, or Evans, who could take everything to hell in a very fashionable car provided by the manufacturer.