We can’t say we will miss him.
After leaving Top Gear, fans were eagerly anticipating the return of Clarkson, Hammond and May to our screens in their new Amazon car show The Grand Tour last year. While the globe-trotting car show had some memorable moments, some aspects simply didn’t work. Transporting the studio tent around the world made little sense when the films in each episode weren’t relevant to the studio location. Fortunately, this will be rectified in the next season as studio segments are being filmed in one UK location.
Replacing Top Gear’s Star in a Reasonably Priced Car was Celebrity Brain Crash, in which a celebrity guest would comically ‘die’ before the interview. Mildly amusing the first time, but utterly cringe-worthy when repeated in every episode. Then there was the Stig’s replacement. While the Stig always stays silent while setting lap times around the test track, The Grand Tour’s stereotypical American racing driver Mike Skinner, aka ‘The American,’ constantly spouted inane one-liners criticizing the car throughout the lap. Again, the gimmick was vaguely funny at first but soon became stale when the joke was repeated every episode.
Axing The American was one of our most requested changes we'd like to see in the upcoming second season of The Grand Tour – and our wish has been granted. In a Twitter post, Skinner announced that he won’t be returning to the show for season two. “For your information I won’t be joining the guys on The Grand Tour’s 2nd season,” he wrote. “I wish them all the luck. My character wasn’t developed as I was told.” Amazon’s decision not to reprise the character isn’t surprising, since most fans will agree that The American was one of the weaker aspects of the show. Even Skinner seems to agree. “I agree with many of you that it sucked,” he wrote.
“If you’re gonna wear Evil Knievel’s firesuit, you need to be Evil Flipping Knievel!,” he added. “By the way… I enjoyed some of those cars I got to drive & I don’t really hate the Brits.” We can forgive the trio for experimenting with new ideas in the first season, but at least they seem to be learning from their mistakes. It does beg the question though: who will be setting lap times at the Eboladrome circuit in the next season? We don’t have to wait too long to find out, as The Grand Tour season two is returning on December 8.