Monday, March 30, 2015

RIP Top Gear - we knew you well

So the BBC did what we expected the old dinosaur to do - they cancelled Top Gear. Well technically, they haven't yet - all they've done is sack Clarkson. But given that James May and Richard Hammond won't do the show without him, effectively Top Gear is dead. If Chris Evans - the rumoured frontrunner replacement - becomes the main presenter, then the BBC will have pulled off the impossible by making a show that is actually worse than the US Top Gear. And believe me - that would be hard to do.
The BBC mishandled this in the style only they could. They should have kept this quiet and done the investigation whilst continuing to finish (and air) the three remaining episodes. The presenter's contracts were all up for renewal at the end of this season anyway. The BBC could simply have not renewed Clarkson's contract, and then stated the reason for it. But to blow this up out of all proportion and turn it into the public airing of their dirty laundry has cost them a lot. It's cost them credibility, to start with. We know it's also lost them about 4M viewers in the UK. Worldwide, the financial cost is pretty steep. They're in the hole for at least £250,000 for cancelling the Norway Top Gear Live - and that's just in ticket sales alone. Lost revenue from the 180 countries that air the show could come to anything up to another £200M per year. Factor in the magazine, live events, books, DVDs and all the other tie-ins and merchandising and that could creep up to £250M per year. Then there's the lawsuits that they will have to settle with all the TV stations with whom they're now in breach of contract to supply the show - that'll be a one-time cost but it will be expensive.
And why? Because the hyppocritical leeches at the BBC continued to make money hand-over-fist whilst publicly complaining about Clarkson at every opportunity. They're archaic dinosaurs who have no idea how to handle their own talent and deal with their own problems without them becoming public. Interviews with other former BBC alumni like Noel Edmonds have revealed just how terrible the Beeb are to work for.
So what now? My money is on Sky or Netflix - my hope is Netflix because they have no advertisers, which means Ambitious But Rubbish could shine there. The BBC will continue to attempt to make Top Gear, I suspect, but it will slowly die a long, agonising death. My suspicion is that it'll take a couple of years for them to realise they have nothing, and they'll swap presenters three or four times trying to come up with the magic combination before the inevitable happens.