The third season of The Grand Tour premieres on January 18th, but already, everyone's talking about season four. Amazon announced the show will ditch its tent studio segments to focus more on the big road trip stories. We spoke with Richard Hammond by phone to learn the reasons behind the change.
"We sort of arrived at that point quite naturally," Hammond said. "It's no secret we've been on telly together for a long time, and many years ago, one of our shows accidentally became our first special. The film we made was too big to fit in to the show, so we thought, all right, well, we won't do the studio and other stuff, we'll just do the big event, and then it's grown from there year by year.
"Then we came to Amazon, and there's no secret about it, it's a well funded show," he continued. "We could go further on those adventures and do more. Amazon, of course, can also plug into finding out exactly what people like and respond to, which is great to know because we want to deliver the show that people want."
Put another way, Amazon knows you probably skip over the tent segments when you're watching The Grand Tour, and apparently, so do a lot of viewers. The company notes how its customers watch the show, and can tell the production team what's popular and what isn't, in hopes of tailoring the show to viewers' tastes.
This sort of thing isn't uncommon among the new vanguard of streaming services making original programming. that Netflix picked up House of Cards based on data indicating its users liked Kevin Spacey and the show's executive producer, David Fincher—, the previous British version of the show had done well on the platform.
With all of this in mind, Amazon's statement announcing the changes coming to The Grand Tour reads quite differently than it did before (emphasis mine):
"We're excited to announce that we have renewed The Grand Tour for season four, and proud that Prime Video will continue to be the home for Jeremy, Richard and James for years to come. Season four will see the guys ditch the tent to take on big adventure road trips that we know Prime members love."
Of course, this is the direction we hoped The Grand Tour would take from the beginning—leaving the BBC gives Jeremy, Richard and James freedom to make more adventurous programming. And the folks behind the show seem to be on the same page as the viewers.
"It turns out that the viewers' favorite bits are also our favorite bits—namely when the three of us just pack up and go somewhere incredible and do something ridiculously incredible, exciting, dangerous, somewhere amazing," Hammond said. "I think we would be fools not to do more of that. I'm sure if anybody should be given the same opportunity, that's what they'd do."
But before the tent goes away forever, there's still season three of The Grand Tour, which premieres January 18th. Expect it to begin the transition toward giving us more of what we've always loved from this trio.