Adam Liaw’s win on Season 2 of MasterChef Australia in 2010 has finished the decade as the single biggest audience of the last 10 years, at an astronomical 4,029,000 metropolitan viewers.
Liaw defeated Callum Haan for the title, $100,000 and a publishing deal.
The series finale was so anticipated it even forced an election debate between Julia Gillard & Tony Abbott to a different time slot due to a fear of low ratings.
Adding in regional viewers it climbed to 5.29 million -around 1 in 4 Australians at the time.
Liaw tells TV Tonight back then the show filmed a winner announcement in the afternoon and kept the cast on set until it had broadcast later that night.
“The cooking aspects of the finale were filmed over 3 days around 2 weeks before broadcast, and then the winner announcement was shot on the day at around 4pm and the entire set was in lockdown for about 6 hours until the result finally went to air. It was a tiring day, so for years afterward the production moved to a model of shooting multiple endings and airing one. These days I think they only shoot a single ending and just trust that people won’t leak it,” he said.
“The strongest memory for me was the contrast. It was the very early days of MasterChef where the filming period was very long (nearly a year all up) with strict lockdown and media blackout conditions, so we’d been in relative isolation for months with no access to newspapers, TV or radio. Then all of a sudden we were dropped back into a situation where there was a lot of public attention. It was quite overwhelming to go from extreme solitude to extreme exposure literally overnight.”
One footnote is that Royal Weddings did accrue bigger audience numbers but only when adding broadcasts across multiple networks: William & Kate 6 million in 2011, Harry & Meghan 4.09m in 2018.
Reality TV & Sport dominate the biggest ratings of the decade, with just one drama, Underbelly: Razor, in the Top 30 shows. But TV ratings have changed a lot since 2010 with the rise of Streaming, Pay TV, Catch-Up and Multichannels.
The biggest metro audience of 2019 was the AFL Grand Final at 2.22m.
|1||MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA – THE WINNER ANNOUNCED||10||25/07/2010||4,029,000|
|2||MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA – FINALE NIGHT||10||25/07/2010||3,594,000|
|3||THE BLOCK -WINNER ANNOUNCED||Nine||21/08/2011||3,370,000|
|4||SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONS||Seven||25/09/2010||3,358,000|
|5||THE VOICE GRAND FINAL -WINNER ANNOUNCED||Nine||18/06/2012||3,325,000|
|6||MY KITCHEN RULES-WINNER ANNOUNCED||Seven||28/04/2013||3,270,000|
|7||SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONS||Seven||29/09/2012||3,222,000|
|8||SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONS||Seven||01/10/2016||3,201,000|
|9||THE BLOCK SKY HIGH -WINNER ANNOUNCED||Nine||28/07/2013||3,160,000|
|10||SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: SYDNEY V WESTERN BULLDOGS||Seven||01/10/2016||3,081,000|
|11||THE BLOCK -WINNER ANNOUNCED||Nine||01/07/2012||3,063,000|
|12||AUSTRALIA’S GOT TALENT-THE WINNER ANNOUNCED||Seven||02/08/2011||2,980,000|
|13||SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: HAWTHORN V SYDNEY||Seven||29/09/2012||2,962,000|
|14||MY KITCHEN RULES-WINNER ANNOUNCED||Seven||27/03/2012||2,892,000|
|15||SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: SYDNEY V HAWTHORN||Seven||27/09/2014||2,828,000|
|16||THE VOICE -SUN||Nine||22/04/2012||2,814,000|
|17||THE VOICE GRAND FINAL||Nine||18/06/2012||2,810,000|
|18||UNDERBELLY: RAZOR -EP1||Nine||21/08/2011||2,794,000|
|19||THE VOICE -MON||Nine||30/04/2012||2,771,000|
|20||SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: COLLINGWOOD V ST KILDA||Seven||25/09/2010||2,768,000|
|21||THE 2012 MELBOURNE CUP CARNIVAL: MELBOURNE CUP-THE RACE||Seven||06/11/2012||2,767,000|
|22||MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA – THE WINNER ANNOUNCED||10||07/08/2011||2,745,000|
|23||THE BLOCK -AUCTION||Nine||21/08/2011||2,736,000|
|24||SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: ADELAIDE V RICHMOND||Seven||30/09/2017||2,723,000|
|25||SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONS||Seven||30/09/2017||2,722,000|
|26||SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: HAWTHORN V FREMANTLE||Seven||28/09/2013||2,718,000|
|27||MY KITCHEN RULES-WINNER ANNOUNCED||Seven||29/04/2014||2,712,000|
|28||THE 2010 MELBOURNE CUP CARNIVAL: MELBOURNE CUP-THE RACE||Seven||02/11/2010||2,707,000|
|29||STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE QLD V NSW 3RD – MATCH||Nine||04/07/2012||2,694,000|
|30||SEVEN’S TENNIS: 2017 AUSTRALIAN OPEN – MEN’S FINAL||Seven||29/01/2017||2,689,000|
Yet despite the win bringing instant fame, Liaw says MasterChef hasn’t really changed his life.
“The idea that winning a reality TV show changes your life is a trope that I’ve never really subscribed to. I loved my life before TV and love it now just the same. I’m hugely grateful for the opportunities that being on MasterChef afforded me. It was certainly a huge stepping stone in the early years and helped to facilitate a career change.
“I’d say Destination Flavour being commissioned by SBS was probably the most life-changing thing to happen in my career so far. Without that I think my career would look very different today. We got to make 6 seasons of award-winning TV over the last 8 years with SBS and that’s something I found truly exhilarating.”
Meanwhile Liaw looks to 2020 with multiple projects in Australia and abroad.
“I have few projects in the works both in Australia and overseas that will be released in 2020 but they aren’t quite ready to announce yet. I’m continuing writing for Good Food for Nine, which I absolutely love. I’m also on the board of the Australia-Japan Foundation, which is a government body assisting the cultural and diplomatic relationship between the two countries and with the Olympics in Tokyo next year I am spending a little more time abroad, but hopefully not too much.”
© OzTAM Pty Limited 2019. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM. Ranking information is for individual episodes. Includes 28 Day Consolidated data.