An official announcement is expected shortly.
According to the BBC, Matt LeBlanc has made the decision to return as lead host of Top Gear following several weeks of backroom negotiations. Current host Chris Harris was not aware of these discussions. Nor was Rory Reid, whose future as host of Extra Gear remains uncertain at this time. LeBlanc announced last July he was departing Top Gear in order to spend more time with his family, who live in California.
Top Gear, as we all know, is shot with a live audience in the UK, but its hosts travel the world to film segments. LeBlanc has yet to make an official statement on his return and we're expecting the BBC to make its own big announcement shortly. The report claims LeBlanc's decision was partially based on the new hosts the network recruited, Paddy McGuinness and Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff.
The former "Friends" actor was said to be concerned about the duo's general car knowledge, or lack thereof. LeBlanc then came to the realization that he knew he could continue to make the show better.
He also realized, following his viewing of early edit segments of the new hosts, that the rapport between himself, Harris, and Reid was far better than that between the new hosts. There was also another vital factor: the fans. LeBlanc is said to have received a lot of so-called "fan mail" practically begging him not to go.
He realized his presence on the show mattered a lot to viewers and reportedly told a close associate, "I just can't let them down." Once he notified BBC executives and Top Gear producers about his change of heart, negations kicked off immediately. His new contract is said to be worth up to $4.3 million per year. As for the new season already being filmed?
The BBC has yet to make a decision whether or not to air it, but LeBlanc's first episode back at the helm as Top Gear lead host will be next April 1, 2020.