Matt LeBlanc, Chris Evans and the Stig
Matt LeBlanc will join Chris Evans as one of the new hosts of Top Gear when the popular motoring show makes its return this May.
No, it’s not April 1.
The producer of the show, the BBC, confirmed the news today.
That’s right. Joey Tribbiani, from Friends, will be appearing in the show each week alongside Evans, a British television and radio presenter and fervant Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] fan. It means Top Gear will have its first non-British host in its 39-year history.
In a statement, the BBC said additional cast members will be confirmed shortly.
Previously, it was speculated that British journo Chris Harris and German driving instructor Sabine Schmitz would be fronting the show along with Evans. However, Schmitz, an expert at driving on the Nürburgring, recently made comments that suggested she won't be a host of the show. She has been spotted on set during filming of the latest episodes, so perhaps she will still play a small role.
LeBlanc, described by Evans as a “lifelong fellow petrolhead,” isn’t completely new to the Top Gear world. He’s appeared twice on the Clarkson, Hammond and May-era show, taking part in the Star In A Reasonably Priced Car segment where he proved to be quite competent behind the wheel. And he’s also a familiar face on the BBC, appearing as himself in the station’s recent sitcom Episodes.
Recently, we heard about some teething issues in producing the new episodes of Top Gear. Evans is said to have threatened to quit over “meddling” by heads at the BBC. However, based on his latest comments, it appears that the show with its new hosts will go ahead as planned.
The first episode is thought to be airing on the BBC on May 8. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime’s new show starring Clarkson, Hammond and May is also in production and is expected to premiere in the fall of 2016.
Below is some behind-the-scenes footage taken during LeBlanc's previous appearances on Top Gear.