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Amazon's 'Grand Tour' may be the most pirated TV show ever

Millions of people are choosing to download the car show illegally rather than pay for Amazon Prime.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins

Jeremy Clarkson formerly hosted "Top Gear."

Awakening, GC Images

Amazon's new car show is too popular for its own good.

Fans are so enamored with "The Grand Tour," which stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, that they've been downloading it illegally by the millions. Analytics firm Muso considers it the most pirated show in TV history, the UK's Daily Mail reported Saturday.

The first episode of "The Grand Tour," which aired November 18, was illegally downloaded 7.9 million times, according to Muso. The subsequent two episodes were illegally downloaded 6.4 million and 4.6 million times, respectively.

Illegal downloads of TV shows, movies and music have frustrated the entertainment industry for decades. Despite legal and tech-focused attempts to stop pirates, illegal downloading persists.

Clarkson hopes "The Grand Tour" will become the vehicle that drives his success, following the BBC's decision to fire him in May 2015 from "Top Gear," a popular show about cars. "Top Gear" still airs, though with a new team that includes former "Friends" star Matt LeBlanc and former CNET journalist Rory Reid.

Clarkson's fans in the UK, where 13.7 percent of the illegal downloads of "The Grand Tour" occurred, were used to watching Clarkson for free on "Top Gear." Amazon's video service works on a subscription model, which means that consumers must pay $99 (£79) per year to watch its exclusive shows. According to Amazon, the first episode of "The Grand Tour" was its most popular original show yet.