Top Gear: Paddy McGuinness and cricket legend Freddie Flintoff ‘to replace Matt LeBlanc as new hosts in £1 million deal’
Top Gear have reportedly signed Paddy McGuinness and former cricketer Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff as new hosts.
The duo will replace ex Friends star Matt LeBlanc, 51, on the BBC motoring show after the next series, according to The Sun, in a two year deal worth £500,000 for each star.
Starting in 2019, Take Me Out host Paddy, 45, and sportsman Freddie, 40, will take over the BBC2 series, after impressing bosses with their ‘infectious’ chemistry in a secret run-through at a test track last week.
Motorheads: Top Gear have reportedly signed Paddy McGuinness and former cricketer Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff as new hosts
Matt announced he was leaving the show after two years back in May, but Chris Harris will remain, with producers reportedly hoping to emulate Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond’s chemistry in the show’s heyday with the new trio.
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Rory Reid will be moved to spin-off show Extra Gear according to the report.
A BBC source has told The Sun: ‘Paddy and Freddie are real curveball signings which no one predicted and bosses are delighted with them..
Quitting: The duo will replace Matt LeBlanc, 51,(right) on the BBC motoring show after the next series while Chris Harris (centre) will stay on as host with Flintoff and McGuinness and Rory Reid (left) will be moved to spin-off show Extra Gear
‘The BBC think having a British trio – two Lancashire lads and a car buff – is a good move.
‘Paddy and Fred are car-mad too. Paddy’s one-liners and Fred’s sense of adventure should bring back the old days of Top Gear.’
Representatives for Top Gear and Paddy and Freddie have been contacted by MailOnline for comment.
Matt, who joined the BBC Two motoring programme in 2016, announced he was stepping down from the show in May, because of the demands of the role, and how much it keeps him away from his family and friends.
He signed a two-year deal for £2million following Jeremy Clarkson’s departure.
Heyday: Producers are reportedly hoping to emulate Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond’s chemistry in the show’s heyday with its new lineup
In a statement from BBC Studios, LeBlanc said his ‘experience on Top Gear has been great fun’ and that he has ‘thoroughly enjoyed working with the whole team’.
He added: ‘However, the time commitment and extensive travel required to present Top Gear takes me away from my family and friends more than I’m comfortable with.
‘It’s unfortunate, but for these reasons I will not be continuing my involvement with the show.
‘I will forever be a Top Gear fan and I wish the team continued success. Thanks for a great drive.’
American Matt LeBlanc was a surprise addition to the Top Gear presenting line-up along with Chris Evans two years ago, following the departure of Clarkson, Hammond and May.
He then continued hosting the show after Evans threw in the towel after just one series.
Evans said at the time that LeBlanc was the ‘captain’ and backed him staying on the programme, and viewers praised his efforts when he returned without the BBC Radio 2 DJ.
Changing it up: American Matt LeBlanc was a surprise addition to the Top Gear presenting line-up along with Chris Evans two years ago, who left the show after just one series
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