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Masterchef Australia – Gary Mehigan Says Take It Back To One Day A Week – No Need To Hit The Panic Button Just Yet

It appears that there has been some talk on the Masterchef Australia set about this series current ratings with even the judges giving their opinion on what to do.

Gary Mehigan has suggested taking it back to one night a week.

He told the Daily Telegraph:

MASTERCHEF judge Gary Mehigan says Channel 10 will need to consider scaling back the hit reality show to once or twice a week if it wants the brand to survive.

The chef added that Ten may want to consider scaling the show back gradually to just one episode a week to keep the format fresh.

“The problem we have at the moment is that for three months of the year we’ve got a whole lot of brilliant TV and then the rest of the time we’ve got repeats and American crime shows,” he said.

“I think if MasterChef is to have a future, you have to be able to do something so that viewers get excited about it coming back – maybe first taking it to four days a week. Then maybe eventually it will be on one day a week.”

Mehigan said he and fellow judges George Calombaris and Matt Preston had been reminding each other about their pact “not to become dickheads” on set.

Personally I don’t know Gary is hitting the panic button so early.
Sure it is not rating as it was, but it is rating over the magic million so the vultures don’t need to circle its dying carcass just yet. I know ratings are important but for diehard fans it is all about the show.
The year Shine Australia has tweaked the series and it has improved this year. The viewer is getting a feel about what most people’s cooking expertise and style is like. Something we did not have at the same stage of the competition last year. There are some exceptions like Mario, Jules and Wade, however compare this to last year when there with 19 contestants left we would barely see six dishes an episode.
Showing more of the dishes  has meant there has been more tension in the episodes with it not being as obvious who will be in the top or bottom three, or in fact who will be eliminated. In fact last night I had no idea who was going to win the invention test.
Now there have been criticisms about some of the challenges particularly the Thursday night elimination challenges where it appears that by default some of the weaker contestants remain safe. This has been irritating. But to be fair could the producers really guess that Big Kev would pick the hardest pasta to identify first up or that none of the contestants last week bar Jules could cook a steak to medium rare. A bit like writing legislation and finding it has unintended consequences or loopholes. But maybe these things do need to be thought through a little better.
The judges appear to have stopped most of the pantomime with just the occasional melodrama and the original Matt Preston appears to be back. He is at his best when he is evocatively describing the dishes. Unfortunately he is not getting as much air time as the other judges.
George has stopped bouncing and trying to be the court jester, and in fact it was a pleasure to watch him at the pass in the Stanley Hotel challenge advising and mentoring. Gary the “nice” judge previously is not so nice this season, with him at times appearing to bully some of the male contestants.
They really should do what they do with Top Chef to keep it fresh by bringing in new personnel each season. This season on Top Chef Texas they have chef Hugh Acheson as a judge. He proved his chops as a contestant on Top Chef Masters both as a TV personality and chef.
Yes I think to give the show a bit more vigour I would look at bringing someone new in. Also they should consider allowing the guest judges who are there for the pressure tests to actually have a say in who should be eliminated.
The one problem continues to be the immunity challenges. There is still not an even playing field with Mindy managing to obtain an immunity pin off the back two other cooks Audra and Amina. The consensus amongst this blogs readers appears that it should be a head to head with one chef cooking a dish that is not their signature one.
To keep Masterchef Australia on our screens, which it should be as it is one of the better reality TV shows on TV, it needs to be kept fresh as well as keeping the elements the viewers know and love.
Network TEN have announced an All Stars series which is exciting and different. This will be shown over the Olympics. TEN should also consider a Masterchef Professional series there would be chefs lining up to be on it and would keep the Masterchef brand alive and kicking.

22 comments

1 Laura { 06.11.12 at 4:01 pm }

Totally agree RR! With –
1. Head to head immunity pin contest: chef v amateur, cooking dishes they haven’t done before. PERFECT.
2. Masterchef Professional: Top Chef is my favourite of favourite reality shows. I think this would have huge potential in AUS. Maybe even as next year’s season of Masterchef instead of amateurs. Would shake things up but keep loyal viewers happy too!

I don’t think it should be cut down to once a week… half the fun of Masterchef is that it does consume your life for three months, against your will.

2 Daze { 06.11.12 at 4:08 pm }

I for one, would lose some interest if MC was shown only once a week. Agreed, every night is sometimes a bit laborious eps. trying to catch up if out, etc. Agree RR, the editing does seem better and tighter – not so pointed as to who will win or lose the following night. Shame George has been anchored in, have enjoyed his natural enthusiasm and antics (Season 1 eg).

Wonder why they proclaim themselves to be dickheads, they have years of experience in the culinary industry and need to wear that proudly!

3 Sue { 06.11.12 at 4:09 pm }

I love the idea of the professional chefs going head to head!

Big fat NO to only once per week though, I like how often it is on! It keeps us going, keeps us involved.

I’m really liking this season. :)

4 Dunbi { 06.11.12 at 4:26 pm }

Agree – no to once a week – just wouldn’t hold the same amount of interest. Yes, I would very much like to see the guest judges having a say in the elimination cook offs. I wonder who Rick Stein would have put last, I felt he was the most disappointed with Kylie’s team.

5 Maryann { 06.11.12 at 4:51 pm }

Once a week won’t work, it would go on far too long. I think they should can the immunity challenge. I think it can ever be really fair and is unnecessary. I also think the time slot is wrong. I for one hate the 7 pm start I would prefer 7.30.

6 littlepetal { 06.11.12 at 5:13 pm }

Maybe should be 3 episodes per week. Would also prefer it to be 7.30pm instead of 7m.

I thought George still bounces up and down and there is too much bad acting from the judges. Should have some new judges. Get rid of these 3.

7 PollyB { 06.11.12 at 6:15 pm }

Get real, get viewers. Currently 6 nights for 3 months(?), thats 13 weeks, thats 78 weeks at 1 night a week!!!!! Less recaps, no showing the house, no showing george serving the food, no ammunity challenge. Maybe we are down to 52 eps, 4 eps for 13 weeks.

8 brain dead dave { 06.11.12 at 6:25 pm }

At that rate it’s gonna take a year and a half to decide the new Ma$terchef. Three footy seasons. Gary’s got the brain of an escargot.

How about chopping down Jowl$y’s mindless tension building pauses when there’s about to be a cull?

9 Georgie { 06.11.12 at 7:23 pm }

There’d be more than one broken relationship if they string it out for any longer than 3 months.

Ditch the dross – clean and lean. Start with 12 instead of 24, three nights a week at 7.30pm. Too many interruptions for people any earlier than that.

To expect to win ratings five or six nights a week when there’s so much RTV is simply unrealistic.

10 Moonstruck { 06.11.12 at 9:06 pm }

Agree that once a week is a really bad a idea. All they have to do is get rid of the immunity on Tuesday. Friday is the least watched of masterchef and as it has no impact on the competion it could easily go.
And they should back to 20 and not show the top 50. They only started the top 50 to milk the masterchef Gravy train. MC has. Even going for over a month and there are still 18 contestants!!!!!!!
MKR increased the number of nights it was being shown and it did it no harm.
Maybe Gary is trying to get some talkback chatter happening??????

11 littlepetal { 06.11.12 at 9:50 pm }

If MC want to have more publicity, they will start to leak out some juicy goss.

12 Moonstruck { 06.11.12 at 10:13 pm }

Maybe that will be ten’s next move Littlepetal.
Not all the chefs are on the same page about the show though. See Matt moran’s views
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/tv-radio/matt-moran-downplays-masterchef-ratings-dip/story-e6frf9ho-1226388719456

Really strange comments by Gary given they have just announced another Masterchef for this year.

13 Maz { 06.11.12 at 11:01 pm }

Agree. They need to move it back to 7.30. Who gets home in time for 7.00??

Don’t mind Masterclass but they need to have some recipes where the ingredients are readily available.

There were higher expectations going into S4, We expect the contestants to have the MC basics mastered. Not “I have never baked a cake before.’

14 Moonstruck { 06.11.12 at 11:11 pm }

You’re right maz especially about “I haven’t cooked a cake before.”
And although they may be good in type of cooking ie Mexican, they need to know the basics of other cuisines.

15 EH { 06.11.12 at 11:42 pm }

Littlepetal – Ben & Kylie? Mindy & the bi-chick (still not sure who she is?), may be another similar smartphone gate ala Matt later on? But yes, agreed with you that there isn’t enough juicy goss this year :(

16 Reality Raver { 06.12.12 at 1:29 am }

Little Petal and EH – If you want scandal here is one fresh from the Daily tele – Kylie confesses to Jamie Oliver she swiped a napkin from his restaurant http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/sydney-confidential/masterchef-contestant-kylie-millar-confesses-to-jamie-oliver-that-she-stole-a-napkin-from-his-restaurant-in-scotland/story-e6frewz0-1226392132105. LOL I know not as sensational some of the other stories of the past few years.

17 Lesley { 06.12.12 at 8:01 am }

7.30 pm start, 3 nights per week, smaller amount of contestants and lets have contestants that have an all-round cooking experience eg “I haven’t cooked a cake” etc.
Gary Meighan and Matt Moran to go surplus to requirements

18 Andy Pandy { 06.12.12 at 8:39 am }

Just get rid of the immunity and the boring Friday night masterclass, that will save lots of time. Get all contestants to cook the the same dish , judges not to watch them being cooked, and then do a blind taste test every time.This will stop the judges having a favourite as has been obvious this time. Also give more airtime to the invisible contestants such as Wade and Mario.

19 lilli { 06.12.12 at 9:12 am }

Please don’t switch to one day per week. We have that in New Zealand as well as a Top 12 and the lack of competition and practice shows – the amount the contestants in Australia go through makes the food they come up with much more interesting, and gives them a chance to pick up some skills so that when it comes to the finale they are well-oiled machines. I think they should join the Masterchef NZ and Masterchef Australia series together so there is a bigger pool of people (hence talent) to pick from, a wider market, one set of production costs, and varied backgrounds, so it just stays more interesting. I think that MCA has got a great variety of challenges; great variety of guests; they just need some new contestants (even if just one or two people from NZ made it into the mix, i think both shows could improve – getting rid of the dead weights that seem to make it into the top24 each season)

The first season did so well because it was fresh and different.

The second season had a really interesting mix of people with different specialties so the food was always interesting (Adam, Alvin and Marion all cooked totally different Asian flavours; Jono was very technical; Skye very health concious) and they were all very good at what they did.

The third season’s mix of people didn’t seem as varied. They didn’t seem to have the same technical skill, and apart from Kumar and Billy, they mostly looked white and same-y, so it felt like less variety. Plus they dumped Cleo so soon, she was a really interesting character, and one the audience could easily warm to.

This season is more varied with people etc, but I just don’t think some of them are as talented as they should be…Ben seems a nice guy but considering Mexican is his specialty, I definitely think he should do better (Aaron was way more creative with his Mexican in season 2). Amina is great – brings new cuisines into the mix; Audra’s baking and general good food sense are all attractions. Downside: Dalvinder is gone; Wade & Mario don’t look like they’ll be stars (though Mario is definitely on the screen more with the melting moments and bollywood dance) and Andrew HAS GOT TO GO (he has performed badly so much, even the last episode can’t make me think better of him…my own personal bias).

Sorry for the long comment, but that’s my opinion…hmm, all this talk of food has made me hungry

20 lilli { 06.12.12 at 9:17 am }

Please don’t switch to one day per week. We have that in New Zealand as well as a Top 12 and the lack of competition and practice shows – the amount the contestants in Australia go through makes the food they come up with much more interesting, and gives them a chance to pick up some skills so that when it comes to the finale they are well-oiled machines. I think they should join the Masterchef NZ and Masterchef Australia series together so there is a bigger pool of people (hence talent) to pick from, a wider market, one set of production costs, and varied backgrounds, so it just stays more interesting. I think that MCA has got a great variety of challenges; great variety of guests; they just need some new contestants (even if just one or two people from NZ made it into the mix, i think both shows could improve – getting rid of the dead weights that seem to make it into the top24 each season)

21 Joseph Skyrim { 06.12.12 at 2:27 pm }

I like the Friday master classes. Immunity should be changed around so that either Gary, George or Matt M. is the mentor while the visiting chef is the sole judge in “blind” tasting (though Matt P can be there so he or she doesn’t have to soliloquy). Less chance for “favouritism” then.

22 littlepetal { 06.12.12 at 3:30 pm }

I still don’t fall for the ‘blind’ tasting. The judges will definitely know who cooked which dish. Can’t stop the production crew from telling them beforehand.