…and now the fine print on MasterChef contracts

2013-07-15_1432Hot on the heels of X Factor contracts being exposed, now the fine print in Masterchef contracts comes under scrutiny from Fairfax Media.

While there are many standard television clauses there are a couple that will raise an eyebrow.

The most surprising sees Shine receiving a 15 per cent commission from any media career income earned by contestants for three years. For 14 months after the show finishes, it has a ‘‘final option’’ to match third-party offers for any kind of media work.  It also has the right to audit contestant books and records looking for any underpayment,  and if an underpayment of more than 5 per cent is detected contestants agree to ‘‘bear all the costs of such audit’’.

Contestants were paid an allowance of $630 a week while they were filming  (but food and accommodation is supplied).

Shine bans contestants from appearing as a host or guest on TV, radio or online shows and talent contests ‘‘relating to your cooking/food preparation abilities’’ without prior permission. It also retains similar control over any book, magazine or online publishing deals for a year after the show airs

Shine has the right to conduct ‘‘reasonable searches’’ of contestants looking for ‘‘illegal drugs, weapons… or other illicit, offensive or dangerous items’’. Contestants can be kicked off the show at any time without reason.

Contestants agree to ‘‘block, suspend, put on hold, take off line or otherwise cease involvement’’ in any websites or social media during filming.

They banned from posting about Masterchef on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instragram and Pinterest, or speaking to the media, without permission from Shine.

Contestants also agree:

To be ‘‘separated from your family, friends, and your regular environment, and have limited contact with family and friends, for an extensive period of time’’
Not to sue Shine for any injury they suffer during filming;
Not to ‘‘use any device or form of technology… to take photographs or make any audio, visual or audiovisual recordings of any of the final 24’’ contestants.

11 Comments:

  1. Reality TV is dirty. It is about time that this sort of garbage genre is renamed ‘Exploit TV’.

    The solution is to boycott such junk until contestants are given fair pay and reasonable conditions. Secondly, why are the unions and government so quiet on this issue? This is surely worse than anything that was offered under Work Choices!

  2. This year the producers wanted the public to discuss the show and share their food ideas on social media yet they banned the contestants from doing the same thing. (Matt, Gary and George however can tweet about the show) They should follow shows like 60 Minutes and Who Do You Think You Are by having one contestant online to discuss the episode straight after the credits roll.
    Last but not least, “(contestants agree not to use any device or form of technology… to take photographs or make any audio, visual or audiovisual recordings of any of the final 24 contestants” is unfair. Apart from clips at the start of some episodes and organised photoshoots with magazines, we don’t know much about the contestants’ lives in the MasterChef residence and what they do in the spare time when they are not filming. Plus the contestants themselves want to have mementos of their time on the show too…

  3. MasterChef is filmed months in advance before it airs on TV, which explains why Shine wants to protect the identities of the contestants before they are officially revealed. But some of the contract clauses are bizarre and harsh.
    For example, Shine can dub the contestants’ voices into foreign languages since the show is broadcast overseas. I prefer their voices be kept and the program shown with foreign language subtitles (overseas fans who are eager to see the show will download the episodes hours after they have been shown here on Ten anyway).
    This year the producers wanted the public to discuss the show and share their food ideas on social media yet they banned the contestants from doing the same thing. (Matt, Gary and George however can tweet about the show) They should follow shows like 60 Minutes and Who Do You Think You Are by having one contestant online to discuss the…

  4. You have to remember that these people would not have a book deal or be in the media without the show.
    If they are talented then they will have longevity.

  5. The contracts go some way to explaining the calibre of the contestants. Most sensible people would look at a contract like that, make a reasoned assessment of the organisation behind it, and walk quite briskly in the opposite direction.

  6. bettestreep2008

    Some unusual conditions – but I think the one about not suing Shine for any injuries incurred while filming the show is a bit rich.

    So if someone gets their hands blown off in the kitchen they can’t sue???

  7. Historically in Australia contracts are often overridden by the courts as they are found to violate human rights. In fact alot of contracts have found to be illegal.

  8. All fairly standard and will be found in any contest type show. They have offered to match any offer of employment removing restraint of trade.

    The only dodgie bit is “Not to sue Shine for any injury they suffer during filming;” Lawyers stick that in all the time and you can sign away a right to sue but the courts are only likely to accept it is you know that you are signing away.

    Such a blanket clause excusing Ten of any negligence is unlikely to stand up if you can find any slight bit of negligence. And you can alway find some negligence. The guy who got really drunk and jumped 10 metres off a bridge near me onto a highway managed to get a pay out from the RTA for a finding contributory negligence from the RTA for not fencing of the bridge to stop him.

    We now have a nice new fenced off bridge. However the ramps were too long so it has only stairs and lift, and you can’t…

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