Netflix Top Gear reboot ‘House of Cars’ may be in the works

14 May 2015

Netflix is rumoured to be working with the former Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond to fill the void left by the popular BBC show with a reboot with the working title ‘House of Cars’.

While it is just a rumour at this point, it nevertheless illustrates the prominence of Netflix as a consumer medium and its ability to generate meaningful audiences for shows likeOrange is the New Black, House of Cards, Better Call Saul and Marco Polo, to name a few.

The rumour mill indicates that the “House of Cars” name will be a spin on political drama House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey. True or not, the idea that Netflix has the means to bankroll its own car show employing the former Top Gear team is a tantalising one and is so crazy that it could actually work.

Top Gear – despite Clarkson’s controversial antics – became a massive hit for the BBC and won it lucrative transmission deals all over the world. The show became more than just a car show, often turning into comedy through a mix of travel and bizarre challenges the team set for themselves.

Room to vroom for Netflix

However, after weathering controversies that included stirring the emotions of the people of Argentina with a number plate that appeared to mock the Falklands War, it all came asunder for Clarkson, May and Hammond.

After he got into a highly-publicised scuffle with one of his producers, the BBC informed Clarkson that his contract would not be renewed and both May and Hammond have declared they would not continue without Clarkson.

The loss of the Top Gear franchise will hit the BBC hard – financially and in terms of audience – and it could be a ripe, low-hanging fruit for an ambitious player like Netflix to target.

Having begun as a DVD rental player, Netflix is now one of the most popular services online and is viewed by many as a potential replacement for TV viewing.

The company last year reported revenues of US$5.5bn and it is understood to have accounted for up to 40pc of online traffic in the US.

The streaming platform has more than 62m subscribers worldwide and its move into original programming with House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Hemlock Grove is paying dividends.

The idea of a car show with a famous cast is a tantalising one. But could it be too hot for Netflix to handle?


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years