‘Top Gear’ shake-up: Chris Evans stepping down as co-host of car show

Chris Evans speaks onstage during a 'Top Gear' panel on January 8, 2016 in Pasadena, California. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Top Gear co-host Chris Evans has announced that he’s leaving the immensely popular car show after only one season.

Evans revealed his departure on Twitter.

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Stories surfaced last week about the other Top Gear co-host, American Matt LeBlanc of Friends fame, and how he was unable to deal with Evans in a professional capacity. He threatened to leave Top Gear if Evans stayed on, and according to multiple sources behind-the-scenes, LeBlanc refused to shoot more episodes until Evans was out.

Top Gear network BBC released a statement about Evans’ departure, not once mentioning anything about a rift or show ratings, which fell substantially over the course of the season.

READ MORE: Matt LeBlanc co-hosting Top Gear: Friends star joins Chris Evans

“Chris is stepping down from his duties on Top Gear,” said Mark Linsey, Director at BBC Studios for Top Gear. “He says he gave it his best shot doing everything he could to make the show a success. He firmly believes that the right people remain, on both the production team and presenting team, to take the show forward and make it the hit we want it to be. The new series has so far notched up over 30 [million] views in the U.K. alone and has already been sold to 130 territories worldwide.”
Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans pose for the ‘Top Gear’ promotional photo. BBC
Perry McCarthy, the original Top Gear host, told the BBC: “It’s sad for Chris, but personally I was expecting such an announcement. I wasn’t expecting it this quickly, but I did think that Chris would step down from it. Chris is an enormously popular radio presenter and TV show host, but he [didn’t] quite gel with this show, he [didn’t] really gel with the viewers. It must be a little bit painful for him to receive this reaction from everybody and I don’t think he’d want to continue, I probably wouldn’t want to continue if I was getting constant criticism either.”
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The Guardian reports that it’s “thought” that BBC is in talks with LeBlanc to return for a second season.

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The car show used to be helmed by acerbic host Jeremy Clarkson and had high ratings worldwide. While LeBlanc was not a fan favourite out of the gate, reports indicate that it was actually Evans who impacted the show’s performance.

One frequently heard complaint from viewers was that Evans was too “shouty,” while LeBlanc allegedly grew frustrated with Evans’ perceived rudeness and supposedly “frosty” attitude toward the rest of the Top Gear team.

READ MORE: Matt LeBlanc vows to leave Top Gear if co-host Chris Evans isn’t fired

Still, Evans was rather kind with his parting words.

“I have never worked with a more committed and driven team than the team I have worked with over the last 12 months,” he said in a statement via the BBC. “I feel like my standing aside is the single best thing I can now do to help the cause. I remain a huge fan of the show, always have been, always will be. I will continue to focus on my radio show and the allied events that it encompasses.”

Evans said he would continue with his other BBC commitments.

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Clarkson was fired from his Top Gear hosting duties in 2015 after he punched a producer.


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