MasterChef backlash is not all bad…

Yesterday it was all pretty grim.

Across the media, on Twitter, talkback radio and online TEN was being duly smacked for its programming move squeezing The Renovators into MasterChef‘s finale.

It overwhelmed Kate’s win and the ratings results. But the news is not all bad.

What we have witnessed is the audience being so vocal because they are engaged in the show. They still care about MasterChef. They are invested in the show so much that they pipe up on Immunity challenges, Mystery Boxes, Dalai Lamas, Lockdowns and programming stunts such as that on Sunday.

That’s a positive.

The alternative would be apathy.

TEN should take heart from the fact that viewers feel ownership of the show to want to see its integrity preserved. This is completely different to the audience having abandoned a brand like Australian Idol.

There are lessons for the network, FremantleMedia and Shine Australia from across the season. Junior MasterChef has some work ahead of it.


  1. For me, this year’s season was pedestrian MasterChef. A bunch of dull people in a familiar format.
    I know that I turned to my partner and raised the eyebrow when they chose to get Hayden’s gear off in early episodes.

    They spent far too much money importing celeb chefs and flying the contestants half way round the world. Or making them cook things like octopus (which no one really cooks) or giving away immunity pins (Survivor, anyone?)

    Shine really needs to get this vehicle back and start from the bones up. MasterChef 1 was excellent because it was new and fresh (which it is no longer) but also because it had interesting stories and people involved.

    And for ****’s sake – drop the recap commentary! On the finale, Matt Preston told them what was going to happen, and they cut to Kate repeating every word he had just said!!! So annoying!

  2. @John, oh, I may have got the name of the show wrong then. I’m sure several years ago Channel 7 did a show kind of like Aussie Idol, Molly Meldrum and Christine Anu were two of the judges. It bombed big time and only lasted one season. I thought it was called “Pop Stars”, but I certainly stand to be corrected.

  3. David you are so correct – I really love this show. I actually applaud the inclusiveness of the casting – it is much more representative than most. The contestants were probably just as interesting as were past years’ but weren’t allowed to let their cooking and the passion shine through the way others had been because of the “Amazing Cooking Race” style that was given precedence. I also think many of the complainants seem to have forgotten the favouritism given to Callan last year!!! Greater transparency in the judging is the only answer.

  4. Of course there could be some spoiling going on by Freemantle, trying to wring the most out of the format before handing it back. The series had already been sold, the sponsorships worked out… they have no interest in preserving it for next year.

  5. @ Allie. ‘except’ PopStars??? It was probably one of the series that created the formula and it was Huge in the ratings. Have a look at the figures. You have your wires crossed.

  6. Masterchef have a very short survey up on their site.

    I was disappointed in this season. For so many reasons. I know that season 2 did have its fair run of bored lawyers looking for a career change. But at least they focused more so on their cooking. But this year it just seemed that there was a lot of favourtism. And has much discussed “rigged” immunity pins and so on.

  7. I agree David,

    I felt really let down this year but because I’d invested myself into this show and I wanted to see how it played out. I think 10 need look at the loyalty of their viewers and stop insulting them. If we wanted to be treated in this way we would all watch 9

  8. Don’t kid yourself. One of the reasons the figures were down is that many people mis-programmed their DVRs or the programming move tripped up DVRs (as it did mine). So many viewers who intended to watch the finale, couldn’t. And pissed off viewers are less likely to invest in watching next time around.

  9. @ Steven, I agree with you, Seven handle reality series very well indeed (with the exception of Pop Stars). Seven absolutely nail the casting of contestants which is their major strength. They get the mix of nice vs. nasty spot on. Also, they seem to keep things fresh by replacing judges and hosts every so often, etc. DWTS and AGT have been going for years now and they are still ratings juggernauts. Shine, take note.

  10. 786,000 for the renovators last night…..the move didn’t work.

    Not only did it harm MC ratings but it alienated viewers – I think did TENs brand a fair bit of damage and also damage to renovators.

    TEN had said previously there was no plan B – I hope there is a plan C…..

  11. Many programmers are like pollies….way too deluded by their own opinions and self importance. Focus groups are a waste of space. All these foolish people running the commercial networks need to do is spend more time reading the ‘feedback’ on this and other news sites, they will soon get a feel for how things are going…

  12. steve sydney

    The strange thing is all these Networks pay money and so much attention to ‘focus groups’ however when to comes to consensus from the actual viewers free of charge it seems to be for the most part ignored.

    The programming for the MC/TR/MC Sunday night had been heavily promoted so they would of had somewhat of a response to indicate how the viewing public felt about the decision yet they didn’t budge. You only needed to look at the comments of this blog and if producers of ACA and TT are looking at this site you can bet the people higher up take a sneak peak as well, so they would’ve gotten the message. Even after the fact and the back lash we still haven’t heard anyone from the network. Perhaps it would have been better for the public to have raised this heavily prior to Sunday in the hope of something getting done instead of 7.30pm that night when it’s obviously too late.

  13. David from Melbourne

    Of course people care about it as a series of programs it has a lot going for it. Who doesn’t like see innovative and different ways of preparing food?
    The point is no one wants to see it turned into a farce like Dancing with the Stars for instance. Credibility is everything in Television. The problem is in such an ego driven industry success breeds arrogance and viewers do not like to be treated as stupids,
    Programming the Renovators in between was a stupid decision.

  14. Yes, the audience does indeed feel ownership of this program. It has really captured the imagination and people develop such an emotional attachment to it. Hence, the shouts from the bleachers regarding the dud season that was 2011. I’m sure none of this will be lost on either Ten or Shine, who both have a lot of work to do to revitalise it for season four. It is too important to Ten, they need to fix the problems fast.

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