The BBC has found a friend in in Matt LeBlanc. The pubcaster has confirmed that the former Friends star has inked a two-season deal to host the reboot of its popular and long-running automotive series, Top Gear.
A new season is set to air on BBC Two and globally in 2017.
Leblanc endeared himself to Top Gear viewers after he signed on to to co-host the series’ season one earlier this year, alongside BBC presenter Chris Evans. The new cast was assembled in 2015 following the high-profile departure of the previous long-tenured Top Gear crew comprised of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. That trio has since moved to Amazon where they are set to launch The Grand Tour, another vehicle-themed show, on Nov. 18.
The BBC brought Evans and LeBlanc aboard to salvage the pubcaster’s lucrative flagship brand; however Evans stepped down as host just 13 months later amid flagging viewership (The Guardian reported that under Evans’ tenure, Top Gear‘s viewership fell below two million for the first time since the program debuted in 2002).
Now, LeBlanc has his hands firmly on the wheel as the series’ top presenter.
“Matt was hugely popular with Top Gear viewers last series with his humor, warmth and obvious passion for cars and the show,” said Mark Linsey, director, BBC Studios said in a statement.
LeBlanc will be joined by Chris Harris and Rory Reid, with regular appearances from Eddie Jordan, Sabine Schmitz and, of course, The Stig. The new series is executive produced by Clare Pizey, with Alex Renton on board as series editor.