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Matt LeBlanc to return as Top Gear host

Matt LeBlanc has signed up to present another two series of British motoring TV show Top Gear.
The former Friends star signed up as one of six presenters when the show was revamped by the BBC earlier this year (16), but the series was a ratings disappointment and his co-host, U.K. TV and radio personality Chris Evans, resigned after one series.
It has now been confirmed Matt will return as host alongside motoring journalists Chris Harris and Rory Reid with regular appearances from motor racing entrepreneur Eddie Jordan and racing driver Sabine Schmitz.
BBC executive Patrick Holland said in a statement, “I am thrilled that Matt LeBlanc is returning to Top Gear. He’s a huge talent whose love of cars is infectious. I can’t wait for the series to return to BBC Two next year.”
According to The Sun newspaper, Matt has signed a deal worth around $2.6 million (£2 million) which will expand his hosting to include the show’s celebrity interview segments.
“In the end they just wanted to sign up Matt as he’s great with the fans and gives the show stability as it’s due to start filming within days,” an insider tells the paper.
The actor has been in Los Angeles filming family sitcom Man With a Plan, which is set to air on U.S. network CBS from October (16).
After being revamped in the wake of the axing of longtime host Jeremy Clarkson last year (15) the show struggled to pull in viewers, resulting in Chris’ departure in July (16). However Matt was praised by critics and fans despite the reboot’s unpopularity with viewers.
Mark Linsey, Director at BBC Studios, adds that Matt’s likeability meant the show’s producers were delighted to have retained his services.
“Matt was hugely popular with Top Gear viewers last series with his humour, warmth and obvious passion for cars and for the show, so I couldn’t be more delighted that he’s agreed to come back and do more for us,” he explains.
Filming on the new series is expected to begin in the coming weeks, with Top Gear returning to TV screens next year (17).

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