Top Gear: McGuinness and Flintoff Are New Hosts
Hit for six? Or out for a duck?
The comedian and the former England cricket captain will join existing presenter and former racing driver Chris Harris to complete the new-look line-up.However, it's bad news for Rory Reid, who joined the Top Gear team after the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. He will no longer have a main presenting role.
Reid began fronting the spin-off show Extra Gear in 2016. He later went on to co-host the main programme, alongside LeBlanc and Harris, after the departure of Chris Evans
According to the BBC, he "will remain part of the Top Gear family", along with Sabine Schmitz. Reid will also continue to be the face of Extra Gear.
McGuinness commented: "Getting the Top Gear gig is a real honour and I'm thrilled the BBC have given me this opportunity...To be hosting a show I've watched and loved from being a small boy is beyond exciting." (From: bbc.co.uk)
The Take Me Out presenter rose to fame alongside fellow Lancashire comedian, Peter Kay in programmes including Phoenix Nights and Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere.
Flintoff, an Ashes-winning former cricket captain, said: "It's not often you have the chance to do both of your dream jobs, but I'm now lucky enough to say I will have…. I've always been passionate about cars and I'm so excited to be joining the Top Gear team." (From: bbc.co.uk).
Flintoff retired from cricket in 2013 with a recurring knee injury and currently presents the podcast Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy for BBC Radio 5 Live. He was previously a team captain on Sky's A League of Their Own.
LeBlanc's next, and last, season as lead host is Top Gear's 26th. It will begin early in 2019 on BBC Two, before Paddy, Freddie and Chris take over later in the year.
Filming for the 27th series of the BBC Two show will begin in early 2019.
It will be interesting to see if the two new presenters are going to be direct replacements for LeBlanc and Reid, or if the show moves towards a new style. Viewing figures nosedived during the one Chris Evans series, but they grew and stabilized during the Le Blanc time as lead host. However, they still haven't reached the same numbers as peak Clarkson.
Will this be a radical overhaul of Top Gear? Or will the BBC play it safe and keep the tried and tested format? Does Top Gear need to change to capture a younger audience who are happier to watch car videos and reviews on YouTube? Or should the series try and maintain its existing audience?
This story originally ran on bbc.co.uk
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