BBC ‘offers huge sum’ already to bag Matt LeBlanc for second Top Gear series

BBC ‘offers huge sum’ already to bag Matt LeBlanc for second Top Gear series
The BBC is reported to be racing to secure Top Gear host Matt LeBlanc for a second series of the show with the offer of a huge pay deal.

Just over four million viewers tuned into watch the return of the BBC’s flagship motoring programme, with critics largely dismissing the comeback after negative reception of the teaser trailer issued last month - Evans himself said prior to the launch that he would be unhappy with anything less than £5M viewers. 

But LeBlanc, known for playing Joey in US sitcom Friends, was hailed among the few saving graces by viewers – with his likeable personality and motoring knowledge going down well.

His cohost Chris Evans was, by contrast, seen in a completely different light.

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One viewer took to Twitter to nickname the star “Mr Shouty” in relation to his overenthusiastic presenting style, while another thought his performance wooden.

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Sunday’s show, the first since the departure of former hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, largely stuck to the format of the original.

It saw LeBlanc road-test an all-terrain buggy while being pursued by a dirt bike, drone and even a light aircraft.

And fans were largely receptive to his performance, with reports in the Sun suggesting a high-value new contract is now on the table to convince him to stay for a second series.

One viewer tweeted to say LeBlanc saved the night, adding that he came across as friendly and seemed to have potential.

The 48-year-old is said to be an essential part of the show’s future success, as he is the only host with an international reputation.

Other presenters include racing driver Sabine Schmitz, motoring journalist Rory Reid and YouTube star Chris Harris.

F1 pundit and well-known motorsport personality Eddie Jordan completes the line-up, with fan-favourite The Stig also remaining a fixture, his identity still kept a secret behind his helmet.

An average of 4.4 million people watched the new show’s debut, with the ratings figures peaking at 4.7 million towards the end of the show.

Evans had previously said he would be disappointed if the show failed to attract at least five million viewers because it was a figure previously achieved from the previous Clarkson-era Top Gear first episode for their last series.

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.