And now...the news! Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, a.k.a. the Top Gear blokes, have signed a new three-year deal to continue hosting the globally popular BBC2 program. The new deal specifies that Hammond and May will receive a share of Top Gear commercial revenue in exchange for promoting the show internationally.

According to the Guardian, the significance of this deal stems from the fact that while The Hamster and Captain Slow previously only received pay for their involvement in the hit show, Clarkson and his mate Andy Wilman were profiting greatly from the international marketing of the show. That's because Bedder 6, a joint venture set up five years ago between Clarkson, Wilman and the BBC owns the show's hugely lucrative commercial rights. The outfit derives its earnings from live Top Gear shows, DVD sales and worldwide marketing of the brand. Clarkson owns 30 percent of Bedder 6 while the BBC owns 50 percent and Wilman owns the remaining 20 percent.

In July, it was revealed that Clarkson's income jumped £900,000 (about $1.45M USD) following word that dividends from Bedder 6 increased from £6 million ($9.7M) last year to £9 million ($14.5M) this year. This, combined with his salary and his £350,000 ($566k) Bedder 6 fee, makes Clarkson the highest paid BBS personality, earning more than £3 million ($4.85M).

It should be noted that this news comes as many other BBC talent have received reduced pay amidst public scrutiny of the government-owned television operator. The BBC is quick to point out that the deal with the Top Gear hosts and Wilman was penned "without using a penny of license fee money." This new deal allows for Hammond and May to have a piece of the pie, without dipping into the BBC's budget. Even so, there has been some debate among British critics whether television personalities are worth these sorts of seven-figure deals – this, despite such salaries being commonplace in Hollywood.


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  • 30 Comments
      Pdexter
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah i wouldn't complain about the pay thinking Top Gear probably brings in way more. Just compare the salaries in North America for talk shows or similar... and Top Gear captured hundred million audience around globe. Anyways, great news.
      atvman
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't see how people can complain about the salaries of the TG hosts, they bring in tons of money for the BBC.
      Lucian Nitescu
      • 2 Years Ago
      This here, might just be the best news I've got all day ...in the world (Clarkson voice)
      4gasem
      • 2 Years Ago
      OH THANK GOD! Love watching them...
      Brenden
      • 2 Years Ago
      and there was much rejoicing
      chromal
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good for May and Hammond, they seem to me as much a part of the show as Clarkson after all these seasons, they deserve a bigger slice of the proceeds.
      72CJ5driver
      • 2 Years Ago
      Did anyone expect this to not happen? I mean, these guys would be idiots not to sign on again. They have all pretty much tried to branch out with their own shows, but never had the success that Top Gear has. Not renewing their contracts would be tantamount to retiring.
        atvman
        • 2 Years Ago
        @72CJ5driver
        It also seems that they genuinely enjoy doing most of their pieces. Then again, what gearhead wouldn't?
          72CJ5driver
          • 2 Years Ago
          @atvman
          I know right? They could probably charge $20k an episode to allow someone to guest host with these guys and sell out every season for the next 2 decades.
        Camaroman101
        • 2 Years Ago
        @72CJ5driver
        james mays toys was good, not sure how it did but it was just a project and couldnt really last more than a few episodes considering how few iconic toys there are out there.
      davebo357
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think that after abandoning the normal Top Gear format and just making the entire episode the "challenge", the USA Top Gear has improved by leaps and bounds in season 3. That being said, I hope there's some sort of Top Gear salary clause that never allows the USA hosts to get paid more than the UK ones, despite how overpaid celebrities are in America. Seeing that Mustang go over the cliff with a hangglider strapped to it last week... hilarious.
      Bob
      • 2 Years Ago
      I really enjoy the British Top Gear, but I'm getting a little tired of the number of episodes per season dwindling down into single digits. This year there was what, 6 or 7 new episodes and that was it until 2013? Not every episode needs to be a vast, budget-busting epic filmed in some far off exotic locale. Sure, keep a few adventure episodes in there, but add a few more "simple" episodes as well and get back to doing 13 or more a season.
      canuckcharlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good news everyone! (in Clarkson's voice)
      Joe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Jeremy and Richard need James to counterbalance them. Its their chemistry that makes the funny. Much the same way that Adam and Jamie on Mythbusters do the same. This is definitely great news!
      MichaelS
      • 2 Years Ago
      So several years ago Clarkson and Wilman come up with this concept for a "new" iteration of Top Gear and pitch it to the BBC, who decide to go for it. They hire Hammond and that other dude who they dumped after the first series and brought in May to replace him (brilliant move, by the way) and the show takes off. Fast forward a bit and Clarkson and Wilman once again team up to develop Bedder 6 to aggressively promote the show and it becomes the global juggernaut that it now is. Do that, to the extent they have here, in Hollywood and you become an entertainment industry god. Do it in Britain and apparently they vilify you for being successful, regardless that you're now cutting your two mates in on the deal even though they aren't part of Bedder 6. Sounds to me like Clarkson and Wilman are being very generous here, and since the BBC owns 50% of Bedder 6 they're raking in the Pound Sterling like they otherwise wouldn't have. When you look at the money Letterman, Leno and their ilk are paid for the ho-hum "entertainment" they provide to a comparatively itty bitty audience, Clarkson, Wilman et al are getting paid peanuts. They should be thanked, not scorned.
        Daniel D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MichaelS
        Clarkson on the surface is doing more then he technically has to with cutting the other two in, but it is also fair to say that Hammond and May are now very much part of the whole Top Gear image and franchise. Two things would happen if one or both left. Clarkson would get very bitter and twisted about it all and Top Gear would most likely start to drop in ratings. It would be very hard to replace two very established characters at this point. Its not like they do car reviews any more. They basically act and have fans and like other popular tv shows, they rarely recover when key actors leave. Since they are all getting on a bit, I suspect Bedder and Clarkson is cutting them in, to keep the gravy train going for a bit longer before they have to take the massive risk of retiring all of them and trying to replace them with a new cast. The stuff they do now can't go on for ever and its obvious from the shorter seasons that its hard work, expensive and getting trickier to come up with new ideas to keep the ratings up and everyone who watches the show and often aren't car enthusiasts entertained. I used to be a massive top gear fan, but these days it really is a comedy/stunt spectacular that happens to feature cars. The comedy is now often forced, the situations are heavily staged so that "accidents" and other hilarity will ensue and well, its all a bit to fake. Yes they always did silly things, but now everything has to be ramped up to 11 to make the DVD look spectacular. Still lots of folks like it and if it makes the cash that it does and you can still have some fun along the way, well I'd keep doing it too. Keeping May and Hammond on board, keeps the cash coming in ultimately.
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