Matt LeBlanc has signed a new contract hosting Top Gear worth around £ 1.5 million after the BBC lost Great British Bake Off to rival Channel 4.
The former Friends star, 49, has reached an agreement two years after negotiations with the BBC in front of the car program on their own.
LeBlanc’s one-series contract expired in June and according to The Sun, the BBC has now agreed to work around filming of the actor’s US sitcom Man With a Plan.
Matt’s role on the show will see him replace main host Chris Evans, 50, who quit in July following criticism from fans.
He will carry out the celebrity interviews and be helped out by Eddie Jordan, 68, Sabine Schmitz, 47, and motoring journalists Chris Harris, 41, and Rory Reid, 36.
A BBC spokesperson said: “Having proved a big hit with viewers when he co-hosted the most recent series of Top Gear, American iconic actor Matt LeBlanc has agreed a two series deal with the BBC.”
Rumours surrounding his replacement have been running rampant since, with James Martin and Paul Hollywood thought to previously be in contention. Hollywood, however, is said to no longer be in the running following the announcement he would be moving to Channel 4 with The Great British Bake Off.
Mark Linsey, Director of BBC Studios added: “Matt was hugely popular with Top Gear viewers last series with his humour, warmth and obvious passion for cars and for the show, so I couldn’t be more delighted that he’s agreed to come back and do more for us.”
Just hours before the BBC officially announced his return, a report by The Sun is now claimed LeBlanc signed a £2 million deal to stay with their flagship motoring show.
According to the publication, the Friends actor’s contract was set to expire in June, after which his schedule is dominated by filming new sitcom Man With A Plan.
Patrick Holland, Channel Editor for BBC Two said: “I am thrilled that Matt is returning to Top Gear. He’s a huge talent whose love of cars is infectious. I can’t wait for the series to return to BBC2 next year.”
BBC TV controller Charlotte Moore is believed to have agreed the deal, which will see most of Mr LeBlanc’s salary paid through the broadcaster’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide.
This means he is the first star to sign up to a loophole preventing his salary being made public under the Government’s proposed White Paper changes
Top Gear series 24 returns to BBC Two next year.