Cash-strapped Clarkson fans who are wondering how they’re going to afford an Amazon Prime streaming subscription may want to hang on to their cash for a while longer, as there is a chance that The Grand Tour might be coming to ITV just a few months after the online launch.
ITV supremo Kevin Lygo is very keen to see if a deal can be struck to secure secondary rights for all 12 episodes of the first series, which cost more than £4.5million an episode to make. He plans to watch it when the show launches and, if he likes what he sees, come up with a bid.
“We’ll take a view when we’ve seen it – if it’s for offer, what’s the price?,” he explained at a Bafta event. The trail looks extraordinary. Like him or not like him, Jeremy is an incredible broadcaster and a unique presenter and voice. So yeah, I’m sure if it’s all great we would like to have it.”
He believes that Amazon may be keen to strike a deal in order to recoup some of the enormous cost.
And he believes the initial audience is likely to be a fraction of the six million who used to watch Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May on BBC2’s Top Gear.
“The truth is so few people will see it,” Lygo says. “Amazon will be delighted if a million people watch it and I suspect there’s an audience of five million for a show like that.”
Amazon Prime currently claims that the series is “exclusive” to them, and insists there are “no plans” to sell it on to other UK broadcasters. Lygo explains: “The whole point of it being on Amazon is it forces you to go and get an Amazon stick but we will, delightfully, be able to watch it and then take a view.”
And it’s not as though any of the other UK channels will be beating down Amazon’s door for it, following Clarkson’s decision to punch his former producer last year, costing him his job on Top Gear.
“The truth is, the BBC won’t be taking it and I think Channel 4 said, ‘We will never work with Jeremy Clarkson’. We are the only game in town if it’s available but as I understand it’s not available… yet.”