It's official. The "Top Gear" that became a global media phenomenon is over.
Over the weekend, the BBC aired the final episode of the car show featuring the hosting trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.
Unfortunately, the episode's 5.3 million viewers was much lower than originally anticipated, The Hollywood Reporter's Alex Ritman reported.
In fact, according to the Daily Mail's Imogen Calderwood, the episode was expected to draw 8.4 million viewers — the highest-rated in single show history.
The actual viewership for the episode was the lowest of show's 22nd season.
Prior to airing on Sunday, Jeremy Clarkson sent out a tweet accusing the BBC of downplaying the episode.
"Strange that BBC News is talking down the last Top Gear tonight," Clarkson tweeted. "Do they not want big ratings for some reason?"
Sunday's final episode is comprised of previously unseen footage shot before Clarkson was dismissed from the BBC in March.
The 75-minute long episode featured two films that was originally destined for season 22 of "Top Gear" Although, Clarkson returned to the show for voice over work, only Hammond and May were tasked with the hosting duties.
But in true "Top Gear" fashion, Clarkson's presence — or lack thereof — was addressed in the form of a large elephant figure in the room.
Also missing from the episode was the show's signature studio audience, who would frequently interact with the show's hosts.
After the episode aired, Clarkson, thanked the show's fans on twitter and lamented the unfortunate way his tenure came to an end.
Last week, Jeremy Clarkson confirmed to the Sunday Times that he — along with his cohosts — will return to TV with a new car show.
Though the publication reported that an announcement is expected in a matter of weeks, the exact network on which the show will air has yet to be confirmed.
Sources told the Daily Mirror's Nigel Pauley, however, that the ex-"Top Gear" trio — along with former showrunner Andy Wilman — were "very close" to a deal with Netflix.
In recent months, the foursome has held meetings with numerous potential suitors including the British broadcaster ITV. But Netflix seems to have come out on top.
Netflix, the American online media-streaming service, is home to such award-winning original programming as "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black."
According to the Sunday Times, the new Clarkson-fronted car show will probably debut sometime after next March.
The 22nd season of "Top Gear" ended abruptly in March after only seven of the nine planned episodes had aired because of the suspension and subsequent dismissal of Clarkson.
Hammond and May followed Clarkson out the door by voluntarily declining to renew their respective BBC contracts, which expired in April. Wilman — longtime executive producer and close friend of Clarkson — also left the BBC after the host's dismissal.
The network's decision to part ways with the polarizing TV personality came after an internal BBC inquiry found Clarkson had punched a "Top Gear" producer when he failed to obtain a hot steak dinner after a long day of filming.
The fracas with the producer came after a controversy-filled 2014 for Clarkson, who was mired in scandal stemming from accusations of racist, sexist, and culturally insensitive comments.
Prior to his dismissal, Clarkson had spent nearly three decades with the BBC as a host on "Top Gear" and is credited with being the driving force behind the show's explosive international success.
In June, the BBC introduced radio DJ Chris Evans as the new front man for "Top Gear." As a result, the 23rd season of the "Top Gear" will most likely feature a lineup of all-new hosts and be the first to not feature Jeremy Clarkson since 2000. Clarkson made his first appearance on "Top Gear" in 1988 and presided over the show's transformation from an automotive news magazine to its current entertainment-centric format.
With more than 350 million weekly viewers, "Top Gear" set the Guinness World Record as the most watched factual TV program in the world. In addition to the UK show, the "Top Gear" brand includes numerous international spinoffs, a live stadium tour, merchandising, a successful magazine, and a website.
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