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Have Shine Australia and Ten Hit The Panic Button With Masterchef?

The Sunday Telegraph reports the producer’s of Masterchef Australia, Shine, will be meeting with Ten executives this week to discuss changes to the format for 2012.

Obviously the falling ratings in the adult and junior version is setting off alarm bells and changes to the format will most likely occur.

The article states:

MASTERCHEF producers will meet with Channel 10 this week to discuss urgent changes to the show’s format following waning audiences numbers and a woeful performance by the latest season of Junior MasterChef.

While Ten wants to continue to milk the culinary cash cow with another extended run in 2012, it is understood Shine Australia — which recently took over production of the show from Fremantle Media Australia — is worried the series has become overexposed and reached saturation point with audiences.

It is understood the series’ relentless on-air roster (which saw 85 episodes beamed into homes last season) has become the key point of contention among the show’s producers.

MasterChef executive producer Margaret Bashfield confirmed Shine would this week meet with Ten to discuss the show’s direction.

Asked whether the show had a future beyond next year, Bashfield said: “I think it does, but I think it won’t necessarily be in the same format that it is now. We have put together all our ideas of what we think the series should be . . . I can’t tell you at the moment if it will be different in that regard.”

However TEN will be sticking with the amount of time it is on our screens. Probably because it will be hard to fill it in with anything else.

But Ten’s head of programming David Mott ruled out any format changes, stating “current plans” would see the next series stick to 85 episodes, across six nights a week, during the next year.

“This brand can be around for years and years and we have no concerns about that.” Mott said.

For a start they need to stick to consistency in the challenges, particularly the elimination challenges, good casting of contestants, and kill the pantomime between George Calombari and Matt Preston. What would you like to see changed about Masterchef Australia?


1 Moonstruck { 10.24.11 at 1:50 am }

Put it back to 30 minutes. The first show was 40 minutes and it didn’t matter that it was on 6 nights a week. Making it 60 minutes was too much. Stop favouritism and unfair eliminations. While I think they can’t all be the same they should allow contestants same level of difficulty. Maybe have a leaderboard similar to junior masterchef.
Food should be inspiring and doable.
More offsite challenges in real situations so the contestants realize what hard work it is to run a restaurant.

2 Moonstruck { 10.24.11 at 2:02 am }

Should say first show was 30 minutes, apart from Sunday night.
Also get rid of recaps and talks to camera. If it goes back to 30 mins there won’t be time for stupid comments t camera stating the bleating obvious.

3 Chipolata { 10.24.11 at 7:31 am }

Get rid of the excruciating melodramatic, repetitive nature of the judging scenes with the same-old same-old happy/encouragement music whenever George, Matt or Garry say anything good. Its just become tedious. This is the main reason I have stopped watching and the same reason I only lasted one episode of The Renovators.

4 smauge { 10.24.11 at 8:04 am }

They have to go back to what they did in season 2. That was the right formula. This year was a joke. Not about cooking at all.

5 kathl29 { 10.24.11 at 8:41 am }

get contestants who want to be a chef and not just write a food blog or get on telly. Use a leader table like junior masterchef so that one bad dish doesn’t send a good contestant home and likewise allow poor contestants to stay longer than they should. Make the prize an apprenticeship with extra money to help them along the way to get a genuine masterchef. Oh and get rid of the overacting from the judges. Lets get it back more real like it was in season two where we saw real skill and dishes that involved more than a cupcake and a mistake.

6 kathl29 { 10.24.11 at 8:47 am }

sorry mistake should be milkshake … Trying to do the comments on my mobile from a hospital bed … Ooops

7 JaniceG { 10.24.11 at 8:48 am }

* Concentrate on the cooking. (Wish they would watch competitions like The Great British Bakeoff for comparison.) Show most if not all of the dishes contestants have cooked rather than wasting time with pointless interview snippets. Speaking of which…

* Get rid of the ridiculous and relentless contestant interview snippets that either (a) point out the blatantly obvious (“I don’t want to go home today” “We really want to win this challenge”) or (b) Recap what we’ve just seen (“And then, they pulled the top off the cloche and there was chicken inside”).

* Don’t edit the hell out of the episodes. Treat the contestants fairly, and don’t make it so obvious through interviews and camera time who’s going to do well or badly.

* Stop the false drama – enough with the fireball just before an elimination announcement, the judges faking that something is bad when it’s good, the contestants saying they’re sure they’ve failed and then doing well, etc. Treat the audience like grown-ups.

* Finally, a small pet peeve – this show does not “find the best amateur chef in Australia.” It finds the best cook out of a group that applied to be on a TV show. Just say “find this year’s Masterchef Australia”

8 brandy { 10.24.11 at 9:22 am }

Everything that JaniceG said. and get rid of the four judges taking turns to be three and bring it back to the original three stooges.

Matt Moran gives me the creeps, but could be used in another role if they’re so dead keen on him. Maybe he could be the hostess.

9 Wurstsemmel { 10.24.11 at 9:25 am }

Shake up the judges. If you’re going to have ‘judges’ roaming around when contestants are cooking, have more guest judges on the actual judging panel. Put a stop to the hackneyed psychobabble and the over the top dramatics.

As commented earlier, make the offsite challenges reflect the reality of working in a kitchen and make the prize appropriate – an apprenticeship in a good restauarant with financial support. Get rid of the cookbook idea. Attract people who really, really want to cook, not those with expectations this show is going to make them a D list celebrity.

Cut the repetition. I don’t need to review what I viewed 5 minutes earlier. I don’t need the endless commentary to camera. I don’t need the sob stories and endless dramatics. I don’t need The Amazing Race type antics (TAR does that very nicely for me, thank you!)

Make the judging blind. Keep the actual judges away from the cooking part, stop the help from the judges and the cooking gallery. Contestants should stand or fall alone.

Cut the crap. If you need a recipe to make pastry, you shouldn’t be on this show.

Don’t expect me to invest one hour every evening.

Will I be back next year? Don’t know. Didn’t last one week this year and didn’t even bother with JMC.

10 Wurstsemmel { 10.24.11 at 9:26 am }

Oh, and keep Matt Preston away from the paper wipes.

11 Maryann { 10.24.11 at 9:35 am }

Cut out the immunity challenge, this year it was a complete joke. One minute up against an apprentice the next up against a chef then in New York where the chef did not take it at all seriously. Also get rid of Matt Moran.

12 wallah { 10.24.11 at 9:39 am }

“more than a cupcake and a mistake.”
Kathl29, after the pages of commentary written on how poor last season was, I didn’t think it could all be condensed into one brilliant sentence. Thank you auto-correct.

13 Culinary Boner { 10.24.11 at 11:25 am }

So Ten are going to ‘reward’ their viewers by boring them into submission with wall-to-wall MasterChef coverage.
Gee, that’ll help boost ratings next year.

14 Izobel2 { 10.24.11 at 11:27 am }

Agree with all the other comments.
Nice one Wallah!
Also I want to see every dish, so it’s not so obvious who top and bottom 3 are.

15 Georgie { 10.24.11 at 11:34 am }

I agree with all the sentiments expressed above with one exception. I prefer Matt Moran to Matt Preston who looks so puffed up and unhealthy I think he’s going to explode like the fat bloke in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.

16 Reality Raver { 10.24.11 at 11:37 am }

I must say I am coming around to the leader board idea. However it might take some of the tension out of the show. Also there is still the opportunity to play favourites.

I think definitely blind tastings on dishes in the elimination rounds. Like they do in the immunity challenges. Gary can run around in the host role and the others can be out the back.

I like Matt Moran as he just tells it how it is, without the hyperbole.

For three seasons we have seen restaurant style set out the back, why not turn it into a restaurant occasionally for a challenge? Maybe a Hell’s Kitchen challenge?

17 littlepetal { 10.24.11 at 11:40 am }

Agree with all the comments. If there are no changes, I am not going to watch next year.

18 Mrs T { 10.24.11 at 11:47 am }

Indeed without a major upgrade I don’t think I have it in me to watch another season.
Leader board sounds good and a new way to do things.
That fire ball has had it’s day, and I’m sick of the Channel 10 “previews” that start months in advance so that by the time the show actually starts I’m not remotely interested.
And yes, how about making it more about cooking, as mentioned in other comments we really don’t care about what the contestants think we want to see some tasty dishes being made.

19 davsimp { 10.24.11 at 12:59 pm }

1) Get rid of the channeling of the dead father/grandmother/family pet sob story thing regarding the “inspiration for being here”. Yeh I know it sounds harsh but instead of feeling empathy towards them I cringe coz it’s been milked to hell and we’ve had more than half of them with their sob stories every season so far.

2) Consistency with immunity challenges would be nice. Apprentice chefs, swimmers and home granny bakers cannot be compared to top chefs who have run their own restaurants for thirty years.

3) More cooking and less whingeing could be a winner too.

Agree with Wallah regarding kathl29’s comment “cupcake and a mistake” – that’s gold!!

20 Leighbee { 10.24.11 at 1:40 pm }

It seems pretty obvious to me that Channel 10 and Shine should be taking a good look at the comments on this blog if they want ratings to improve. Given that almost everyone has said the same thing – less drama, more cooking please, it’s pretty clear what the public want! I want to see dishes being prepared without the endless inane commentary (then I added the eggs and milk to the flour and my batter was ready….I’m not stupid, I can see what you are doing), I want to see ALL the dishes tasted so that I can get a feel for ALL the contestants abilities rather than the chosen few and I just want some consistency in the challenges. Not hard really, so pull your socks up channel 10 and get on it!

21 brain dead dave { 10.24.11 at 2:08 pm }

Before the gastronomic gravy train comes to a grinding halt, a new name wouldn’t hurt- $hizenchef.

Would love to have been a fly on the wall at the Shine /Masterchef talkfest. The atmosphere must have been like the final moments on the Titanic.

22 Reality Raver { 10.24.11 at 2:15 pm }

BDD – I suspect things will get more tense when they discuss the second item on the agenda – The Renovators.

23 JaniceG { 10.24.11 at 2:21 pm }

Oh, yeah… forgot to mention the challenges. My take: For the immunity challenges, not only should the challengers be of equal standing but the challenge should be as well: asking the contestant to make the signature dish of the visiting chef is absurd, and so is having a complicated tiered dessert with a lot of technique one week and CWA cupcakes the next. (I personally think the fairest is to have a dish neither the contestant nor the visitor has ever cooked: the contestant gets the recipe but the visitor doesn’t.) The elimination challenges should also be consistent — although perhaps the challenges could step up in intensity as the weeks progress, they shouldn’t veer from hard to easy to hard again. (Of course, a really low point for me last season was when two of the contestants up for elimination were merely asked to make three different chicken dishes… and then couldn’t come up with even one edible one between them! I could just see Jonathan watching at home, alternating between snickering and kicking himself for not applying last year instead of the year before.)

24 brain dead dave { 10.24.11 at 2:32 pm }

Some alocution lessons for George , please and sensibly adult haircuts for Gary.

“This brand can be around for years and years and we have no concerns about that.” Mott said.

They said the Titanic couldn’t be sunk either.

25 PollyB { 10.24.11 at 5:11 pm }

LOL BDD – Concur completely re speech and hair styling!

I agree with everyone, especially – stop treating us like imbeciles, show & taste all the food and lose the fake suspense along with the fireball. :-)

26 Wurstsemmel { 10.24.11 at 6:34 pm }

And probably ditch Matt Preston…a little bit fun in Series 1, becoming increasingly obnoxious and self-inflated by Series 2.

27 wallah { 10.24.11 at 7:56 pm }

I cannot, and will not, ever forget the look of gravitas in Mr. Preston and Mr. Moran’s eyes as they looked at a piece of burnt fried chicken and unfinished yam. This is where it lost me. No doubt the contestants were competent enough, but when the experts have to sit there and act as though that kind of stuff is passable, it makes a mockery of what the show is about. Throw them in the deep end, make them break down, have them do restaurant service after restaurant service, both in the kitchen and on the floor. Want to do a food blog? Want to raise your media profile? Fuck off, there’s enough bloggers and unemployed actors already. Want to work in hospitality? Fine. Get dirty. Get stinky. Get annoyed. Start smoking again. Develop a speed habit. That’s being Masterchef folks, not “I can’t believe after half an hour shopping I forgot red food colouring, so contrary to the rules that were explained, I’m off again to the shops” , repeated 4 times in 5 minutes. And please, Channel 10, enough of Qantas Club lounges and Bronte children’s birthdays. We get it. They’re wealthy. Get the Salvo’s to sponsor you and work in a couple of shelters. Wow, I really am annoyed!