Top Gear newbie Chris Harris aka Monkey will be presenting a new TV show all about cars ─ and one that will air just about everywhere but the UK.
The new car show will be fronted by Chris Harris and is called Chris Harris on Cars, borrowing the name from his popular YouTube channel – the back catalogue of which was bought by the BBC for its Top Gear channel.
Chris Harris on Cars will air on BBC America and on BBC Brit in Australia, south America, South Africa, Poland and Scandinavia. There are no plans to show it in the UK at this time.
The show is described by BBC America as a showcase of “the newest, fastest, coolest cars on the road”. The first season will be seven episodes long and debuts on the 11th of July, 2016.
Harris started out his own YouTube channel, having come from Evo and Drive, in 2014 and has 360,000 subscribers to date, who enjoy his mixture of motoring enthusiasm, wry wit and his ability to go sideways in supercars.
Top Gear global brand director Adam Waddell said: “Chris Harris has proved extremely popular with viewers of Top Gear and Extra Gear – he can drive the wheels off any car and fans love him for his ability to explain what its really like to drive the world’s most exciting cars.”
“He brings with him a fan base of millions from YouTube and we’re delighted to be working with him to create this incredible new content,” he added.
The news comes in the wake of lead presenter Chris Evans’ departure from the show after just one season. Critics called him the weak link in the presenter line-up and his presenting style ‘shouty’, which subsequently lead to him “standing down” from the role.
While this is obviously good news for fans of motoring journalist and presenter Harris, who has been described as one the recent Top Gear‘s few successes, it seems like a desperate move on the BBC’s part to try to rebuild the £50 million it earned from Top Gear in revenues when Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May were the stars.
Series 23 of Top Gear saw ratings fall dramatically, ending on just 1.9 million for the overnight audience for the sixth and final episode of the series.
This is not the first Top Gear spin-off to come from the revamped show. Recombu editor-in-chief Rory Reid and Harris are the hosts of Extra Gear, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at how Top Gear is made and has celebrity interviews on BBC Three.
If you failed to tune-in for the latest series of Top Gear (either because you miss Clarkson or got engrossed in Euro 2016), you can get a flavour of Harris in his Citroen 2CV video.