The news that the BBC will not renew the contract of Jeremy Clarkson puts question marks against the long-term future of the worldwide sensation that is Top Gear.
If you haven't heard already, the BBC will not be renewing Jeremy Clarkson's contract after allegations of a physical and verbal assault against a producer for Top Gear at a hotel, apparently over the lack of steak and chips.
The BBC will obviously not want to shutter the global hit, which generates it significant annual revenues, but how do you replace such a contentious host like Jeremy?
That may not be the only problem facing the corporation as it tries to remodel to motoring magazine show. Will James May and Richard Hammond renew their contracts with the BBC - their contracts expire at the same time as Jeremy Clarkson.
This latest re-incarnation of Top Gear really only works because of the on-screen chemistry between the three co-hosts, and it is a pretty fair bet that as a trio, commercial broadcasters will be chomping at the bit to sign them up.
There are already rumours swirling of potential offers from ITV, Sky and even Netflix, to get them onto their books - I mean, who wouldn't want them? Oh yes, the BBC.
That said, physical and verbal assault is not something that should ever be tolerated, let alone in the workplace. Any assault should be reported to the Police.
But wait - it doesn't appear that this assault has been reported to the Police. There has been no criminal investigation here as far as I can tell. It could be argued that there isn't a case of assault for the BBC to have investigated, unless there is a crime reference number to go with it - for instance you couldn't claim on any insurance in the same circumstances without one.
The long and short of it is; the BBC found themselves in a very difficult position. For me, the easiest way to deal with it would have been to allow the law to handle the matter. That's what it's there for isn't it?
The BBC would then have been able to take the moral high road; and made their decision whether to renew Clarkson's contract or not, much much easier.
For the BBC however, their most popular talent is off to its competitors. I am absolutely convinced that the trio of Clarkson, May and Hammond are close to, if not already, having a new gig lined up - and will be back on your televisions, most likely before the BBC manages to get a new format for it's own Top Gear.
By the way, speaking of Top Gear, the BBC can expect to lose a significant amount of annual revenues, as international broadcasters ditch the show and go after whatever the new format will be from Clarkson, Hammond and May (sounds like a firm of solicitors to be honest), and from whomever it is making it.
My verdict? Commercially speaking, and in terms of international reputation, the BBC have taken a shotgun and shot themselves in both feet, and then fallen on a landmine, all immediately after taking a suitcase of money and setting it on fire.