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The Grand Tour On Amazon Almost Didn’t Happen

We know The Grand Tour is on its way and we are insanely excited to see the first iteration of this new show, but there’s a little known fact that Amazon almost didn’t get Clarkson, Hammond, and May and The Grand Tour may have been totally different.

The Grand Tour will utilize a traveling tent format and pop up in different areas of the world as we’ve all seen from their teaser videos and press releases. But what if this format, the name “The Grand Tour,” or even Amazon’s backing wasn’t part of the plan? Well that might be a question we’lll be asking ourselves as we watch the much anticipated first season on Amazon Prime this fall.

Before Amazon snatched up the most famous trio in all of the automotive realm, Netflix was a major player attempting to make a play for their talents. Long rumored, but only just confirmed, Netflix would have given C, H, & M a similarly massive online digital fanbase to draw from. However, Amazon just had more money and backing to throw at the stars.

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According to a recent interview with Reed Hastings, Netflix’s Chief Executive, they threw money at the boys, but got outbid. Big time.

Netflix is not the only new player in town pushing up prices, and when it came to the show being made by the former Top Gear trio Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond the company was outbid by someone with far, far deeper pockets, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. A Netflix executive last year said Amazon had spent too much, before backtracking rapidly. Is Hastings worried about losing out?

“We bid on Jeremy Clarkson’s show and they bid more,” says Hastings. “By the time they won it, we were like ‘Wow, that’s a lot of money.’ Maybe it’ll work for them, it might well. It could be a great show. You can’t tell until you’ve seen it. We lost on that one, there’s other ones we won. They are in the bidding, but so is Hulu in the US, so is HBO, we were bidding [against] Channel 4 for Black Mirror.”

Hastings brings up a good point in the world of digital entertainment: there’s more. With companies like Netflix and Amazon buying up unproven properties, though at least TGT had previous pedigree, it’s a hugely uncertain time to know what you’re paying for. Amazon won out in this case.

“Our spending the $5bn or $6bn is a fraction of the total industry spend. If Amazon spend a couple of billion it’s in a pool that is very large when you add up all the different networks and what they are spending on scripted entertainment around the world. I use Amazon all the time – I am a Prime user, when they have a good show I’ll watch that – but my sense is that they are just one more competitor amongst many.”

This just shows you the kind of money that s being thrown around for TGT. Netflix, a $5-6 billion company, couldn’t come up with the capital to get the rights to the show. When the boys were at the BBC, they were notoriously vocal about the tight budget and that famously cut their episode count from the 20s per season (or series), to 10 total.

This Amazon deal is set to kick off this fall with a $250 million budget. I think we’re going to get ourselves a good show.

(Source: The Guardian)

About Gregson

Gregson's love affair with cars began at a young age thanks to his father who introduced him to racing. He's been a fan ever since he saw his first race live at Watkins Glen at the age of 5. He loves GT3, F1, Rally, Touring, and Le Mans styles of racing. Intermediate knowledge of internal combustion engines. Any reading done for pleasure is devoted to automotive journalism. Gregson owns a WRX and can 4-wheel drift directly into your hedges, no sweat. He currently is a Senior Copywriter for McCann Torre Lazur specializing in pharmaceutical advertising. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Kate and their dog Savannah.

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