Top Gear and the BBC have declated they definitely want Matt LeBlanc in the driving seat for Series 24 – after reportedly dropping a $1.68 million contract on the table in an effort to entice him back to the lead role. Despite the former Friends remaining coy about his future on the BBC motoring show, sources say a hefty pay cheque is on the table from the broadcaster with a one-year deal up for grabs.
It is believed he will put pen to paper on the contract shortly — which would see his salary double from last year. A show source said: “Matt was one of the positive aspects of the last series, he is keen to return and we definitely want him back so it will happen, we just need to dot the ‘i’s’ and cross the ‘ts’. We think he will be back filming soon and he is excited about some of the ideas we have lined up.”
Last week, the actor was playing coy about his comeback to the program, which has suffered huge criticism and low ratings since its revamp. Promoting his new show Man With a Plan, the star said: “I’m not sure what’s happening with Top Gear just yet, but this is my priority.” When asked about whether or not he would return, Matt replied: “I don’t know. I’d like to. There’s nothing officially happening just yet, call the BBC.” The broadcaster meanwhile stated: “We don’t expect further changes to the Top Gear presenting line-up.”
Matt, 49, was drafted in alongside show anchor Chris Evans to replace the longstanding line-up of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Yet fans didn’t warm to the switch and Evans quit in June. The TV and radio star resigned from the newly revamped car show after just one season at its helm.
Filming for the new series will begin later this year.