Matt LeBlanc, the first American to co-host the iconic British reality series Top Gear, is leaving the BBC reality series after two years on the show. He said he was quitting because of “the time commitment and extensive travel” required.
LeBlanc will leave after Top Gear season 26, which will be the next season; the six-episode season 25 aired this spring in the U.S. on BBC America.
He said in a statement released to media:
“My experience on Top Gear has been great fun. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the whole team. However, the time commitment and extensive travel required to present Top Gear takes me away from my family and friends more than I’m comfortable with. It’s unfortunate, but for these reasons I will not be continuing my involvement with the show. I will for ever be a Top Gear fan and I wish the team continued success. Thanks for a great drive.”
LeBlanc joined the show 2016 after Jeremy Clarkson was fired over an altercation with a producer, having previously been warned followed his use of the n-word.
BBC Two executive Patric Holland said in a statement that season 26 “promises to be something very special” and called LeBlanc “fabulous” and “brilliant,” according to The Guardian.
He also suggested the network may already have LeBlanc’s replacement in mind: “we have great plans to welcome a new co-host to join the team for 2019 and beyond.”
BBC America aired a new American version of Top Gear last summer, starring the actor William Fichtner. It aired just one season and has yet to be renewed.