Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are not worth the £160 million Amazon has agreed to pay for their services, according to its arch-rival, Netflix.
Representatives from Netflix were reported to have met Clarkson and co to discuss the prospect of producing a new motoring show with them after they left the BBC, but in the end the former Top Gear trio signed with Amazon.
And now Netflix’s chief product officer, Neil Hunt, says Clarkson is not worth the money Amazon has set aside for his series.
Hunt told Digital Spy: “We have past episodes of Top Gear, so we have a pretty good gauge of what audiences like.
“Our buying decisions tend to be somewhat data-driven. We have a lot of data to get the deals we want, so there we go.
“Clearly it wasn’t worth the money to make the deal… I think they sold themselves for way more money [than they’re worth].”
Netflix was considered a frontrunner in the bidding war that began after Clarkson was dropped by the BBC for punching a colleague in the face. ITV and Sky were also said to be in the running, but eventually the 55-year-old presenter signed with Prime, Amazon’s instant video service, for £160 million.
The sum will give Clarkson a budget of £4.4 million for each of the forthcoming show’s 36 episodes. The BBC reportedly spent £500,000 on each episode of Top Gear during Clarkson’s long reign.
The new Amazon show will go into production next year and will be broadcast in the autumn, several months after Chris Evans’ rebooted Top Gear. Fans of the old team will have to pay £79 to sign up to Amazon’s streaming service, whereas Evans’ Top Gear will be covered by the licence fee.