Former "Top Gear" hosts Richard Hammond and James May reportedly have plans to turn down a deal from the British Broadcasting Corp. to host the iconic car show, opting instead to launch a new one with Jeremy Clarkson. A deal with Netflix to air the tentative new car show "House of Cars" may soon be finalized.
According to Nigel Pauley of The Mirror, an unnamed source claimed that the trio, along with executive producer Andy Wilman, are "very close" to signing a deal with Netflix. Both 45-year-old Hammond and 52-year-old May have previously indicated that they would not return to host the internationally popular BBC2 show without the reinstatement of Clarkson.
"Flattering though it is to be offered huge sums, there'll be no going back," an insider said. "It wouldn't feel right and their heart wouldn't be in it."
The insider added that Netflix was a favored option. Pauley reported that Clarkson, Hammond and May have been talking with other media outlets about a new car show, including British broadcaster ITV.
"They've always said they come as a team and that hasn't changed," the insider said. "They are all very excited at the prospect of having total editorial control over their new show, to make it and get it distributed."
The insider indicated to Pauley that the new show "would be groundbreaking and also incredibly lucrative."
"They would stand to earn much, much more than they would with the BBC," the insider said.
In the meantime, Pauley reported that Hammond and May have shot studio scenes for two "Top Gear" films. They are expected to be screened within weeks.
"Clarkson had his faults, but his importance to the show cannot be understated," a source close to the project said. "He wrote it, came up with ideas and was its heart. It will need about three or four good operators to replace him."
The source added that although Hammond and May "could make it work as a duo," both consider it a "non-starter" to have "different guest presenters every week" on Top Gear.
"The amount of work required to get Top Gear back on the road again is just sinking in amongst executives," the source said. "It is a huge task."
As for Clarkson, Mark Jefferies and Claire Rutter of the Scottish Daily Record reported that he is cutting back on alcohol consumption after learning about the sudden death of British politician and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy. He wrote about how the event affected him in his Sunday Times column.
"He was an affable soul who like what I'm sure he would have called a tincture, and a family statement says the post-mortem showed his death 'was a consequence of his battle with alcoholism,'" Clarkson wrote of Kennedy.
According to Scottish Daily Record, Clarkson indicated that he is saving £500 (about $763) a week limiting his drinking habit. He also hinted at the possibility of a new TV deal with California-based Netflix in his column.
"Californians have a habit of ringing at 11 p.m.," Clarkson wrote in regards to being sober at night.