Matt LeBlanc to step down as BBC Top Gear host

 The BBC said Matt LeBlanc (centre), 50, was finding the travel demands of the show too taxing.
The BBC said Matt LeBlanc (centre), 50, was finding the travel demands of the show too taxing. PHOTO: BBC UK

LONDON (REUTERS) - Matt LeBlanc, former star of 1990s US hit comedy Friends, said on Thursday (May 31) he will step down as co-host of the BBC motoring programme Top Gear after the next series.

The American actor, who achieved global fame as Joey Tribbiani in the NBC sitcom, was the first non-British host of the show when he started in 2016.

The BBC said LeBlanc, 50, was finding the travel demands of the show too taxing.

"The time commitment and extensive travel ... takes me away from my family and friends more than I'm comfortable with," LeBlanc said in a statement.

"It's unfortunate, but for these reasons I will not be continuing my involvement with the show. I will forever be a Top Gear fan and I wish the team continued success. Thanks for a great drive."

Top Gear, one of the BBC's most successful and profitable shows, was taken off air in 2015 after its then star Jeremy Clarkson physically attacked a member of production staff.

Clarkson and his co-stars Richard Hammond and James May now present a car show for Amazon, The Grand Tour.