— Matt LeBlanc (@Matt_LeBlanc) February 4, 2016
“How you doin’?” Is how we like to think the BBC approached Matt LeBlanc when asking him to fill a vacant seat on the new reboot of Top Gear. After the ouster of Jeremy Clarkson and the following resignation of his two cohorts, the BBC scrambled to put together a cast of characters that could live up to the original trio. Prior to the LeBlanc announcement, British radio personality Chris Evans was the only other confirmed member.
LeBlanc — famously (or maybe infamously) known for his role as Joey Tribbiani in the hit TV series Friends — isn’t a stranger to Top Gear. He has appeared on the show a couple of times and was known for setting the fastest time in the previous series’ “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” segment. He’s described himself as a “car nut” on more than one occasion.
“Matt’s a lifelong fellow petrolhead, and I’m thrilled he’s joining Top Gear,” Chris Evans said in a statement. “Acting out our craziest car notions on screen is a dream job and I know we’ll both be debating some epic road trip ideas.”
LeBlanc will be the first non-British host in the 39-year history of the show, and some believe that despite his passion for cars, he’d make an odd addition to the show.
“It does seem odd that the BBC will use an actor in a factual entertainment show,” said Steve Berry, who co-presented Top Gear in the 1990s per the BBC. He added that the clout with the show’s most recent line-up lay in the fact that they were “all experienced motoring journalists.”
“When Jeremy Clarkson gives you an opinion you can respect it,” he went on. “When an actor says that line, does it have that authority?”
After setting a lap time of 1:42 on the Top Gear test track in a Kia C’eed, LeBlanc also took the Stig for a drive in a McLaren MP4-12C. More recently, he presented Top Gear: The Races, a segment about, well, the races featured in Top Gear.
“As a car nut and a massive fan of Top Gear, I’m honoured and excited to be a part of this iconic show’s new chapter,” said LeBlanc. “What a thrill!”
Top Gear said that it is also expected to reveal more hosts for the show’s reboot soon.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.