Ex-MasterChef judges eye streaming future

Industry chatter around Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris has been rife today following the shock news of their exit from MasterChef Australia.

Speculation about their next venture varies from Netflix and Amazon to Nine / Stan. International appeal around the trio, especially in India, puts the possibility of Netflix on the horizon.

The Age reports the hosts formed a company called GaryGeorge&Matt (GGM) in February to negotiate with 10. But there are conflicting reports about what went wrong.

Some reports claim he judges initially wanted a 40 per cent bump in remuneration compared to 2.48 million in 2010. But the network, under CBS, declined.

Others suggest they agreed to an offer of more than $1 million each but remained at loggerheads with 10 over the length of their new contracts. While 10 wanted to extend their contracts until the end of next year – Preston, Mehigan and Calombaris insisted upon an August 2020 expiry, to negotiate with rival media companies.

Gary Mehigan said on Instagram: To explain: ‘It was time to move on, have more free time to explore our own creativity’ It was never about the money and never will be about the money. We couldn’t agree on the term of the new contract for 2020 and season 12. Something we felt very strongly about. 

Meanwhile speculation about just who will replace them has been hectic on social media.

Twitter Australia has revealed the most Tweeted about potential judges:

  1. Shannon Bennett
  2. Maggie Beer
  3. Curtis Stone
  4. Adam Liaw (already the unofficial King of Aussie Twitter with gems like this one)
  5. Kylie Kwong
  6. Poh Ling Yeow
  7. Nigella Lawson
  8. Justine Schofield
  9. Iain ‘Huey’ Hewitson
  10. and the infamous Gordon Ramsay (who’s currently a judge on MasterChef US)


  1. Maev....Sydney

    Maggie and Huey….too much to take on for them …they are semi retired…too intense….
    Nigella, Curtis and Gordy have too much going on…under their own names….and their home bases are overseas….again, a bit of an ask…
    I think Kylie ..Poh and Justine are also fairly busy people….
    Masterchef is a big committment….

  2. jezza the first original one

    I hope it’s true about Maggie Beer not being interested. She’s had zero appeal in our household. One of my choices would be Luke Nguyen, he’s got the x factor. However I think MC could well be dead and finished now

  3. It’s funny… the only reason I haven’t watched Masterchef since it’s very early episodes is because of the disdain I have for these three judges. They are the only reason I don’t watch. So I’m stoked they are gone and I can actively avoid anything they are attached to elsewhere.

    • I’m with you, though all the contestants have said over the years that George was the best, who, apart from his payment of staff issues I quite liked apart from his inability to use cutlery properly – we have 10 years of kids thinking it’s OK the lick your knife.
      Time for fresh faces – younger Aussie chefs & I suppose a critic.
      I don’t want to see past contestants or other “celebrity chefs”.
      I didn’t think Australia would be able to find someone to replace the wonderful Kevin McCloud for our Grand Designs but we did.

    • As Belvedere might say:

      “To Gary & George & to Matt
      I am tipping my taste-testing hat
      And though I’m bereft
      ‘Cos they’ve quit MasterChef
      I’m in line for the gig. Fancy that!”

  4. If Matt, Gary and George are a “package” deal I am guessing it’s George they probably want gone.

    Dumping all it’s hosts in one foul swoop and replacing them with new hosts… Smells like Channel 9 lol

  5. Maggie Beer is winding up her involvement in her own businesses in preparation for retirement. I think it’s unlikely she’d commit to a long contract for anything.

    • Quite. And while she’s happy to appear as a guest – which promotes her own brand – she actually wouldn’t be a particularly good fit for Masterchef, unless they go for a balancing act with a more “”cheffy” presenter. Maggie is all about rustic home cooking, even if it involves something tricky like de-boning a chicken. She’s no fan of foams and smears and molecular gastronomy, or of using highly technical processes and loads of fancy equipment – all of which Masterchef relies on in order to construct interesting challenges and secure sponsorships.

      • In many ways the three judges became an institution but then again viewers get bored with the same old. I can understand the need to refresh the show

    • Top Gear was even bigger. And that has all but died (sadly). Or at best for enthusiasts, it is no longer a “must watch” I suspect MC may go the same way unless they have a major rabbit in the hat somewhere such as Ramsay. Nigella I can live without.

      • Top Gear has been somewhat revived this year with another change in hosts and going back to banter basics. Often is the case with these long running franchises though that there is a short term replacement before the longer term successors are found – and then of course the longer term successors are compared to the unpopular short term replacements rather than the trio long associated with the show.

  6. Steve Allen suggested reality food wouldn’t necessarily work on streaming. He raised an interesting prospect of them going to Nine. If Nine wants a serious crack at a successful food format now may be their time and these may be their men. In regards to Master chef Maggie Beer has said she’s not interested.

    • Ahh yes but where would 9 fit it into their schedule? Quite the risk taking on the trio’s untested format ideas, and even taking on George. And no doubt they’d want $1.4 million.

  7. You can say ‘only on Netflix’ but you can also wonder what the Netflix thought process is considering the surfeit of Masterchef type cooking shows that are already in production worldwide, perhaps there aren’t enough. It’s certainly a curiosity how these three naughty celebrity chefs can be so popular in India.

  8. I would suspect they are using Top Gear as the model. If George had been fired (unlikely), then the chemistryt of the three would have been wrecked never to be rekindled (as Top Gear found). But do a Netflix (or Amazon) and reinvent and whoosh! Off they go again!

    All power to ’em I say. I for one was not buying into the wages “it was all George’s fault” argument and the utter condemnation (without knowing the full fcats) that went along with it from so many.

    I ask you, how many people commit a crime knowingly and then drop themselves in it purposely? I suspect GC took the heat (as he should being the Boss) for utter incompetenece in his HR Dept. I mean, what else was he supposed to do?

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