Top Gear's Chris Evans raises eyebrows with four-hour workdays

Is Chris Evans being stretched too thin? That may be a legitimate concern as reports are claiming the new host of Top Gear can only devote about four hours a day to his new show. The blame, it seems, can go to his long-running breakfast show on BBC Radio 2.

According to Yahoo! UK, Evans is up at 4:45 a.m. during the week to make it to the studio for the start of his 6:30 a.m. breakfast show. The program runs for three hours then Evans jets off to get to work on Top Gear at 10 a.m. But the early call time for his radio show means Evans can only devote about four hours to TG before he admittedly becomes "useless" and "fried," the host told the Top Gear magazine, according to Yahoo!. He leaves the studio at 2 p.m. "on the dot" to pick up his children.

There are some things to be concerned about here. First, despite his image, since his departure it's been revealed that Jeremy Clarkson was something of a workaholic when it came to Top Gear. It's worth questioning whether the show can be as successful with one of its most powerful voices putting in 20 hours a week. Evans' limited TG schedule is also worrisome considering how vocally he pushed for the same kind of control as Clarkson and former executive producer Andy Wilman had. Should the BBC be giving that much power to a person that can't even make the show his full-time job?

These are concerns for us, as international viewers and fans of Top Gear. But for residents of the United Kingdom, there's a more immediate concern. See, every British resident pays what's called a license fee. This money is what pays for everything from Top Gear to Doctor Who to EastEnders to Evans' own radio show. Considering this, the British public can be notoriously grouchy when it comes to the perceived waste of license fee money. And if Yahoo !'s report is true, it effectively means Evans is getting paid a lot of license fee money – his three-year contract is reportedly for 3 million pounds ($4.27 million at today's rates) – to work just 20 hours a week. That's not likely to endear viewers that are either waiting to see Top Gear fail or recapture its glory days.

Admittedly, all of these are preliminary concerns. No one, aside from the BBC bosses in London that will undoubtedly preview the show, can make any judgments about the new Top Gear or the work habits of its hosts until the it airs in May. Condemning the show outright before it airs is simply unfair. But as this represents another bump in the road for the reborn show, we'd be lying if we said we weren't at least worried.

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