BY GEOFF WEISS
The Grand Tour, a car-themed series that was revived by Amazon after hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May departed their immensely popular BBC show Top Gear, has officially become the “biggest show premiere ever on Amazon Prime Video,” the company announced Monday.
While Amazon did not provide viewership stats, it said that The Grand Tour has supplanted The Man In The High Castle—a series about what the world might be like if World War II had turned out differently—as its biggest-ever debut. Amazon also said that new Prime memberships were at an all-time high on Friday, when the show premiered, and that The Grand Tour was receiving unprecedented critical acclaim, including a 4.9 rating on Amazon by more than 15,000 customers.
“The chemistry between Jeremy, Richard, and James is what makes The Grand Tour so entertaining,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a statement. “Their creativity, along with the amazing production quality and 4K HDR streaming, has Prime members responding in a big way.”
At the same time that it trumpeted the premiere of The Grand Tour, which the company reportedly outbid both Netflix and Hulu in order to secure, reports circulated that Amazon was making a stated push for live sports programming. Amazon has been in touch with the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), and soccer, lacrosse, and surfing leagues about airing live events, according to The Wall Street Journal.
To distribute such programming, Amazon is weighing the idea of creating an exclusive premium sports package that could be part of its Prime offering, according to the Journal. Amazon is also reportedly pursuing a skinny bundle of live television channels—and any future sports programming could live on that service as well.