*This guest post was written by Scott Huntington who is a writer and blogger that lives in Vermont and covers the world of technology, cars, gear, and more. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.
Back in 2016, the world seemed pretty bleak for auto fans. Fifth Gear ended after hundreds of episodes on the same channel, even though it was one of the most popular auto shows on TV. People needed something new and fresh to dive into every week that entertained and taught them at the same time. Enter Amazon. They saw the need for more car-related entertainment and called a few former Top Gear presenters. James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson all stepped in to talk shop and ended up creating The Grand Tour.
Now, The Grand Tour is about to start its fourth season on Friday. Here’s what you can expect from the next installment of everyone’s favorite Amazon Prime Video gear head show.
Things Are Changing
Before the start of season three approached earlier this year, rumors began to spread that The Grand Tour would end up on the long list of canceled shows. Fans were up in arms for Amazon to save the show, which generated a massive following on the online streaming service.
People loved to tune into new episodes where the hosts traveled around the world to nine different countries in season one alone. They tested out different kinds of cars, talked about future auto development and hosted live segments in front of audiences in their now-famous tent.
The combination of fascinating cars, witty banter, and the audience’s reactions put the show on the map. Like with any show, now the creators and producers want to shake things up.
Expect Fewer Episodes
The past seasons have included at least 11 to 13 episodes each, which fans expected to continue with season four. However, the team has worked hard to increase the quality of each episode, which is why they’re transitioning down to two episodes for the upcoming fourth season and possible future seasons.
Another reason for the change in episodes could be the change in financial backers. The Grand Tour‘s presenters and executive producer Andy Wilman originally funded the new show through their production company, W Chump & Sons. Now the show is funded by the BBC Studios-backed Expectation production company.
There haven’t been many public announcements regarding the specifics of each new episode, although the title of the first will be called, The Grand Tour Presents: Seamen. It begins at Siem Reap in Cambodia and sees the hosts sail into Vietnam. It’s almost more of a movie than a TV show at this point.
Say Goodbye to the Tent
The major focus of past seasons has always been the tent. The hosts set up their tent wherever they went and invited audience members in for live tapings. Celebrities would show up for interviews and everyone talked about the hottest news from the car industry.
At the end of season three, the hosts said goodbye to their tent. To focus on the production quality, the team decided to retire the tent and focus on road trip experiences instead, ending the era of their live audiences.
While some fans might regret the loss of their favorite tent, critics commend the move. The hosts get their best reviews when they’re cracking jokes on the road, so it focuses the show on what they do best — hosting and drag racing. The move also opens the show up to explore beyond the world of cars into other specialized vehicles.
Welcome Back Your Hosts
Most shows with hosts face occasional rumors that their hosts want to leave. Whether or not the rumors are true, they get people talking about the show during moments when it would otherwise miss the current news cycle.
The same recently happened for The Grand Tour. Jeremy Clarkson, the head host, voiced his concern in a recent interview that filming for season four hadn’t gone according to plan. Travel changes, bad weather, and technical difficulties made filming the first episode a challenge. He mentioned in an interview that he wanted the filming to be over and the rumors began.
Now those rumors can settle down once more. Clarkson was recently named the top car show host for his roles in The Grand Tour and Top Gear. As the hosts and production crew get used to the new method of filming, they’re bound to work out the kinks and find it easier to film the second episode of season four.
Look Forward to Spinoffs
When The Grand Tour first began, the hosts signed a contract that outlined three seasons with Amazon Prime. Their new contract features few episodes for the show, but more shows for the host.
Each host will debut their own shows tailored to their interests. James May was the first to announce his show, Our Man in Japan. It will film him traveling over 1,000 miles across Japan to explore the deeper aspects of the country’s history and culture.
Jeremy Clarkson’s show will be called, I Bought the Farm. Throughout the show, he’ll run a 1,000-acre farm in the British countryside. It dips into his passion for agronomic pursuits and will be available in all of Amazon Prime’s 200 countries and territories.
Richard Hammond’s future show, currently unnamed, has been greenlit alongside MythBusters‘s Tory Belleci. The two will get dropped off on a deserted island and attempt to survive on their own.
All three shows are very different from The Grand Tour, allowing the hosts more creative freedom when they’re not filming their wildly popular auto show.
Check Out Their Website
When The Grand Tour first began, the hosts wanted to create an online place for gear heads to find a community. That resulted in DriveTribe, a website where anyone can make a tribe and join up to 7 others. Users can join ultra-niche tribes dedicated to all things cars or browse through less specific groups to find a home online.
Although season four will change The Grand Tour landscape, DriveTribe will remain unchanged for the many users who visit it daily for DIY tips, fun facts, and upcoming car events.
Enjoy the New Experience
The upcoming changes to season four will give viewers a new way to experience the world with their favorite hosts. Even without the famous tent, critics expect this next season to be just as big as previous ones. Enjoy it when the first episode premieres on December 13, only on Amazon Prime Video.
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