Matt LeBlanc plans to be back in the driver’s seat on Top Gear when the long-running British car series returns in 2017.
BBC Two announced news of LeBlanc’s return recently, saying that the actor had been signed to a two-series deal.
“I am thrilled that Matt LeBlanc is returning to Top Gear. He’s a huge talent whose love of cars is infectious,” said BBC Two Channel Editor Patrick Holland, in a statement. “I can’t wait for the series to return to BBC Two next year.”
LeBlanc, who made several previous appearances on Top Gear, joined the programme as a regular presenter in early 2016, when he and British radio and TV personality Chris Evans were hired to replace Jeremy Clarkson.
Clarkson, who had been involved with the series since 1988, did not have his contract renewed by the broadcaster in 2015, after a controversial run with the show, including the use of racially charged language on set and a physical altercation with a producer.
Evans announced in July that he would not be returning to Top Gear despite signing a three-year deal in 2015.
“Stepping down from Top Gear. Gave it my best shot but sometimes that’s not enough,” Evans tweeted. “The team are beyond brilliant, I wish them all the best.”
Evans’ departure comes after a stark drop in ratings for the series, which premiered with 4.4 million viewers and fell off to an audience of 1.9 million by July.
BBC Two is confident about a future paired with LeBlanc, however.
“Matt was hugely popular with Top Gear viewers last series with his humour, warmth and obvious passion for cars and for the show,” director of BBC Studios Mark Linsey said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more delighted that he’s agreed to come back and do more for us.”
Returning to Top Gear means that the actor will be working triple time on either side of the Atlantic.
The fifth and final season of LeBlanc’s Showtime series Episodes is scheduled to air in 2017 and his new CBS sitcom, Man With A Plan, on which LeBlanc plays a stay-at-home dad, debuts Oct 24 in the United States.
Top Gear Season 24 will air in 2017. – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service