LONDON, March 25. /TASS/. The BBC announced on Wednesday the contract with Jeremy Clarkson who hosted Top Gear, one of the world's most popular TV shows, will not be renewed despite a sharp audience decline.
"It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly," Tony Hall, the BBC director-general, said in a statement regarding Clarkson.
Clarkson, 54, was suspended on March 10 after a row over catering with Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon in a hotel in northern England.
Top Gear fans were outraged with Clarkson's suspension. More than a million people signed an online petition to reinstate Clarkson, who had been a Top Gear presenter since 1998.
The BBC director-general said the decision not to renew the presenter's contract, which expires in late March, "should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC."
"I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear. Jeremy is a huge talent. He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come," Hall said.
Top Gear, which enjoys an estimated audience of 350 million people in 170 countries, including Russia, was named the world's most widely watched TV show by Guinness World Records in 2013.