What’s the problem with MasterChef?

I’m going to go out on a limb here….

I don’t agree that Matt Moran should have defended MasterChef‘s declining ratings.

I wasn’t there at the time he was asked a question and supposedly said he couldn’t care less about declining ratings, so I’m not fully appreciative of the context.

But I don’t believe it needs defending. I think for a show in its fourth season in a multichannel landscape it’s doing just fine, thanks.

On Sunday it pulled 1.33m viewers and on Wednesday it had 1.11m. What’s wrong with that? It also did good business in the demos and the sponsors are getting plenty of exposure. Isn’t that what the show is supposed to do?

Anybody who thinks the show should be getting 2m+ needs to get a grip.

Television has changed so much since the show debuted in 2009. How quickly many have forgotten it was a sleeper back then before it ignited a wildfire. But those kind of game-changers happen once in a blue moon. The Voice is enjoying that kind of power now, and rightly so. Don’t expect it to be sitting on 2m+ in four years’ time either.

Yes, My Kitchen Rules was averaging higher this year. Because it’s newer. Because it’s well made. Because it’s on Seven and starting from a higher base. MasterChef has to rise off that back of less promotion, less cross-promotion and lower lead-ins. Duh.

We all watch TV differently now. We are timeshifting, in Drama more than Reality admittedly, but journalists need to remember Timeshifting, and OzTAM needs to work out ways for them to contextualise the data when they are receiving it two weeks after the show went to air. It’s an ill fit.

Back to MasterChef…. I haven’t watched every episode but from what I have seen it’s a big improvement on last year. There are more Mystery Boxes. There are more Invention Tests. There is a better connect between contestants and the food they are making. From what I have observed anecdotally, readers have acknowledged this too, and I believe it is translating to numbers as well.

I question whether defending the show, as an article did today, actually purports a misconception. If you have to defend declining ratings, you’re also reinforcing declining ratings.

Next year the show will have to change again. Maybe not so many episodes. Maybe even time to recast the judges. But the basic premise of people with ambitions and rising to fulfil that can be re-told many times over by creative people who are passionate storytellers -provided the show is well cast.

I’m happy to be served up again, and so far I haven’t had my fill.

Quit the blame game and pass me a plate.


  1. If Kids really want to learn to cook wait till they are of legal working age to be able to go work at an Ice Cream Shop/Coffee Shop/Fast Food Outlet and get some on the job training and when they are old enough then they can go onto a Tafe or Cooking School if that’s what they want to do in life.No wonder the Junior Version of MC tanked.You’re robbing kids of their childhood too early.

  2. I think this season is a marked improvement on last year. The new immunity challenge format is a definite winner. The hosts are what makes the show, change them at your peril.

    Remember, don’t feed the trolls.

  3. Just replace the hosts and judges.It’s becoming like the Top Gear of Cooking Shows with the same old boringly annoying presenters Year In and Year Out.Make It more like an Iron Chef.

  4. I would rather watch a couple of old Everybody Loves Raymond episodes on Channel 11 till they finally decide to replace the Hosts/Judges on Masterchef.In an Ideal World I would vote them all off and bring back some American Sitcoms or Have 10 go back to the drawing board for something other than a reality TV show all year round for 7pm.

  5. @T: Your spelling and grammar are atrocious. Horrendously bad. Is English your first language?

    Anyway, I’m not a fan of Masterchef or The Voice (or any of these stripped reality shows), but I’d take MC over crap like Border Security, Highway Patrol, RBT, and those awful ‘factuals’ any day.

  6. I’m really enjoying this season as well and my only gripe is the Immunity Challenge.

    I really don’t believe that Mindy was deserving and if I were her, I would have handed it to Audra.

    But this week in Tassie, they went back to the old format of one contestant, one chef – I hope it stays that way!

  7. I think this is the best season of contestants yet. There isnt really anyone who is annoying or you instantly take a dislike to and they all seem to get along great.

    I like the mystery box/invention test back on sunday nights and the team challenges have been really good. Im really enjoying this season

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