Jeremy Clarkson Definitely Has More Options Than BBC
Forget about it.
Not even a million more signatures from fans could pull Jeremy Clarkson out of this now.
In what most have been speculating for weeks, the BBC finally decided to ax the popular Top Gear host, who has kept many of us entertained for years with his blunt and direct take on automobiles.
“For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations,” said BBC’s director of television, Danny Cohen, in a BBC report.
Even Clarkson seemed to know his fate was doomed when he posted the following comment on his Facebook page: “You can start as many campaigns as you like and call on the support of politicians from all sides, but the day must come when you have to wave goodbye to the big monsters, and move on.”
Seems kind of odd when you think about it: Here’s a man known for saying some of the most outlandish things in the world about cars, and he gets canned by the network for a dispute that starts over what food is being served during a taping for the show. Then again, I guess if the filet mignon wasn’t prepared to Sir Clarkson’s liking, then it’s to be expected that he’d have to let off a little steam, right?
All jokes aside, though, if Clarkson did actually punch a BBC producer, as numerous sources are reporting, then his contract with the British TV network might be the least of his worries. The latest news is that the police are now investigating the incident in which Clarkson supposedly struck the producer in the face, causing him to bleed.
The man that many have come to know and love for driving some of the most amazing cars in the world (and a few not so amazing) was pictured riding away from reporters on a bicycle the day he was officially fired by the BBC. Ironic, isn’t it?
If you ask me, the BBC comes out on the losing end of the stick here. Love him or hate him, it’s Clarkson who really helps the BBC generate something to the tune of nearly $54 million U.S. dollars a year in commercial revenue, according to a Financial Times report. Even the show’s co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May will tell you how important Clarkson is to the Top Gear empire. Without him, there’s really not much there, which makes me wonder if the BBC might be considering fading the show out. Axing Clarkson allows the network to start cutting some of the show’s expenses.
Let’s not forget, it’s been rumored that Top Gear costs somewhere around $7 million a year to produce in U.S. dollars, which isn’t cheap for a weekly documentary show. Even if the network does decide to hire another host, he or she will likely be paid substantially less than Clarkson, who was reportedly making $1 million a year U.S., according to a Telegraph report.
An earlier partnership payout to Clarkson for his stake in a Top Gear joint venture with the BBC yielded the car buff $9.2 million U.S. and roughly another $5.2 million U.S. in dividends. All of which afforded him a few luxuries beyond cars, like this estate pictured below. So, he certainly doesn’t come cheap.
However, my gut tells me some other networks are already waiting in the wings to pick up Clarkson’s tab if he’s willing to keep that engine going. He’s certainly more than capable of pulling off a one-man show, and the fan base is definitely there, evident in the amount of support he got following his earlier suspension this month.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if co-hosts Richard Hammond, James May, and The Stig are working on their exit strategies as I write this, looking to follow Clarkson. With all the digital platforms like Netflix and Hulu betting big on original content, it might not be long before Clarkson is parking his talents and cars elsewhere, in an even better position than he had at the BBC.
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Photo Sources [BBC, The Guardian, Telegraph, Financial Times]