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Could Top Gear Go To Sky?

Jeremy Clarkson

With the ongoing confusion surrounding Jeremy Clarkson's suspension from the BBC and the rest of the series being postponed, all eyes are on the BBC as to what they do with the programme. It's been a long time coming for Mr Clarkson, who amongst high profile slip ups like using an impossibly offensive racial slur, mocking the former Prime Minister for being partially blind and almost sparking a diplomatic war with Argentina, his programme has been accused of so much it now has an extremely long Wikipedia page. After his last controversy, Clarkson was warned that anything further would result in his suspension. Fast forward to last week, when Mr Clarkson reportedly punched a producer because he had failed to ensure food would be ready for him by the time he flew in on his helicopter.

The BBC have kept quiet about the future of the programme, which has a number of worldwide contracts to produce TV. Recently we heard that Mr Clarkson has the support of the BBC's Director General in the run up to an inquiry into his conduct. The programme itself is worth £50 million per year to the BBC, and they will face lawsuits from overseas broadcasters should they not finish the series. That puts both the BBC and Clarkson in an interesting position, and poses the question, could Top Gear go to Sky?

It certainly wouldn't be a simple deal. Before 2012, the rights to Top Gear were split between Clarkson, the programmes producer Andy Wilman and the BBC. Those rights were then bought out entirely by the BBC, meaning that Clarkson is only contracted to work on the programme. He does, however, have a number of years left on his contract, as do the other presenters. Sky could theoretically purchase the rights from the BBC and keep those contracts intact whilst continuing to service the overseas contracts, but it would cost an immense amount of money, perhaps around £100 million. Still the possibility of having Top Gear on Sky is exciting for both the company and fans alike, who are already crowding the Sky tel numbers requesting that they launch a bid.

For Clarkson's part, it would appear that he is growing tired of life at the BBC and the scrutiny that he's come under whilst there. We've also seem immense public support, with almost a million people signing a petition to bring Jeremy Clarkson back, showing just how passionate the audience are to have his voice on TV.

So, it seems that the deal might work out for everybody. The BBC would be rid of a constant source of controversy and flush with new cash, Clarkson would get his move away and (presumably) more editorial freedom and Sky would get a shiny new jewel in their TV crown, as well as the option to sell the programme around the world and free up space on the call Sky from mobile number.

With that being said though, the BBC would probably much rather keep the programme on their schedules, letting Clarkson out of his contract and recasting the programme. Still, we await to see how this all shakes out.

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