Chris Evans role in Top Gear reduced?

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Chris Evans

Chris Evans

Chris Evans screen time on 'Top Gear' has been cut in half by BBC bosses in favour of more scenes with new presenters Rory Reid and Chris Harris.

Chris Evans' screen-time on 'Top Gear' has been cut in half in favour of more clips featuring Rory Reid and Chris Harris.

The 50-year-old presenter is reportedly set to take a less prominent role in the BBC series following a slump in viewer ratings, whilst the two motoring journalists, who usually host the online spin-off show 'Extra Gear', will step more into the limelight.

Reid wrote on Twitter on Monday (13.06.16): "We are on the main show every Sunday now."

Evans' screen time on the first episode was approximately 49 minutes and by the third, it had dropped to 29 minutes and co-anchor Matt Le Blanc was handed the duties of hosting the studio.

What's more, BBC bosses were reportedly forced to use pre-recorded laughter during the first episode.

Despite 36-year-old Reid and 40-year-old Harris being showered with praise after the third episode aired, the programme recorded the second-lowest audience figures since Jeremy Clarkson revived the motoring show, in 2002, with just 2.37 million live viewers tuning in.

And audience appreciation figures seen by The Telegraph showed that Evans's debut episode received an appreciation index score of 60 out of 100, compared to an average of around 82 for Clarkson's version.

However, Mark Linsey, director of BBC Studios, defended the programme.

He said: "I'm delighted with the first show, it's BBC Two's highest rating programme of the year. We wanted to be faithful to the original for the people who do love it.

"We want new people to come to it. It will evolve and change as the series goes on but definitely we wanted to be faithful to a much loved show by the viewers."

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