Netflix declined to sign up Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May because they “weren’t worth” the £160 million ($256 million) said to have been paid by rival Amazon to air a new version of Top Gear, a senior executive for the streaming service said.
The former presenters of Top Gear left the BBC earlier this year after Jeremy Clarkson was fired for hitting a producer.
Netflix was known to have been in discussions with the former Top Gear trio but decided against taking things further after analyzing its own viewership data of past Top Gear episodes, according to the company chief product officer Neil Hunt.
However, Netflix has claimed the presenters “sold themselves for way more money” than they are worth.
“We have past episodes of Top Gear, so we have a pretty good gauge of what audiences like,” Neil Hunt, told Digital Spy in an interview.
“Our buying decisions tend to be somewhat data-driven. We have a lot of data to get the deals we want.
“Clearly it wasn’t worth the money to make the deal.”
Neil Hunt later clarified his comments in a statement, saying: “There is an audience for everything and it is not up to us to judge if Amazon has paid too much or not.”
British broadcaster BT Sport previously said it, too, had declined to bid for the Top Gear trio.
Managing director Delia Bushell told the Guardian: “To be honest I didn’t consider it. It just wasn’t right for us.
“It’s a fantastic franchise, but it made more sense for a global player like Netflix because Top Gear has huge US revenues as well.”
Jeremy Clarkson was suspended in March, following an “unprovoked physical attack” with a Top Gear producer in a Yorkshire hotel. It was said to have occurred because no hot food was provided following a day’s filming.
Following an internal investigation, the BBC decided not to renew the presenter’s contract.
Jeremy Clarkson’s co-hosts then followed him in leaving the show.
They have now signed up to Amazon Prime to make a new car-themed program, along with producer Andy Wilman, who also quit the BBC following Jeremy Clarkson’s “fracas”.
Top Gear will continue on BBC Two, with Chris Evans in charge.