26/09/2016 08:33 BST | Updated 26/09/2016 10:15 BST

Top Gear Confirms Matt LeBlanc Will Host New Series, After Chris Evans' Departure

Look who's back!

Matt LeBlanc has been confirmed to be taking over as lead presenter on the new series of ‘Top Gear’.

The BBC confirmed on Monday (26 September) morning that the former ‘Friends’ actor would be taking the reins of the show in the future, after being praised by ‘Top Gear’ fans for his presenting skills in the most recent series (though the same could not be said for his former co-host, Chris Evans, who will not be returning).

He’ll be joined by Rory Reid and Chris Harris, both of whom were on the extended presenting team of this year’s series, while Eddie Jordan, Sabine Schmitz and The Stig will continue to make “regular appearances”.

Monica Schipper via Getty Images
Matt LeBlanc

This comes following reports that Matt had earned £2 million in a new two-year deal with ‘Top Gear’.

Following negotiations over the past few months, it is said BBC controller Charlotte Moore approved a deal which will work filming around Matt’s US show ‘Man With A Plan’, which debuts later this year. 

A source tells The Sun: “‘Bake Off’ going to Channel 4 was a disaster and a real blow. Losing Matt because of a few diary arrangements would have spun ‘Top Gear’ into crisis yet again.

“Charlotte looks like she has really aged in the last couple of weeks and had even offered Paul Hollywood a role on ‘Top Gear’ to try and get him to stay. In the end they just wanted to sign up Matt as he’s great with the fans and gives the show stability as it’s due to start filming within days.”

It was reported last year that Matt earned £500K for his first year at the helm of ‘Top Gear’.

Following Chris’s departure when the poorly-received reboot wrapped up, Matt hinted he might not be returning either, when he said that nothing had been finalised and that his commitments in the US were his “priority”.

BBC Studios boss Mark Linsley also told The Guardian earlier this month that he’d be keen to give other members of the presenting team more time in the spotlight, more specifically Chris Harris and Rory Reid, who he named for having gone down well with viewers.

The new series will air on BBC Two and globally in 2017.

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