5 impressive stats about Top Gear

Controversial Top Gear host suspended
Controversial Top Gear host suspended

The BBC has taken its smash hit car show Top Gear off air.

This Sunday's program was pulled after controversial presenter Jeremy Clarkson was suspended by the BBC following a "fracas" with a producer. The future of the show, now in its 22nd series, is uncertain.

Top Gear is one of the BBC's most lucrative and popular shows. And Clarkson has played a big part in driving its success.

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Here are 5 impressive facts about Top Gear that will cause the BBC to think hard about dropping him permanently:

1. Earnings winner: The program is one the BBC's most powerful global brands. British media estimate that Top Gear makes £150 million ($225.8 million) in revenue for the broadcaster's commercial arm BBC Worldwide.

2. Record breaker: The motoring show is the most widely watched factual television program in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

3. Global footprint: Top Gear plays in 214 territories worldwide and has an estimated global audience of 350 million. It set viewer records for an unscripted series on BBC America in 2013, while also delivering its highest ever ratings for global channel BBC Knowledge.

4. Clarkson fans: A petition to reinstate the embattled star had attracted nearly 300,000 supporters on Wednesday. He's divisive but plenty out there love him - the celebrity has 4.57 million followers on Twitter (TWTR). The show itself has more than 24 million fans on Facebook (FB).

5. Media offshoots: While changing viewing habits shift audiences toward video-on-demand services across the BBC, sales of Top Gear DVDs still managed to impress. Top Gear: The Perfect Road Trip was the U.K.'s best-selling TV DVD of 2013. And the BBC Top Gear magazine is the number one U.K. motoring title.

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