The head of BBC Studios, Mark Linsey, has said they are not looking for another Chris Evans on Top Gear, but are instead “building on the characters that worked, ie Rory, Chris [Harris] and Matt LeBlanc”.
Evans decided to quit Top Gear after just one series during which ratings hit an all time low, saying he “gave it my best shot”.
Mark Linsey added that Top Gear “was built around an ensemble. Matt LeBlanc was an important part of that ensemble. Clearly the viewers enjoyed Matt LeBlanc, and we want him to come back”.
Explaining the show’s low ratings, which plummeted to 1.9m in July compared to an average of 6.49m when Jeremy Clarkson was presenting, he told the Guardian: “Top Gear was a phenomenon, but it certainly didn’t start as a phenomenon. It grew over time. When you are trying something new, albeit with a well-known format, but certainly with a new cast, it is going to take time.
“If you look at the first series of the Clarkson era it didn’t even have James May in it. It took 10 years to grow and the new Top Gear needs time to grow. It certainly didn’t surprise me it didn’t do the audience figures of the previous series.”