Masterchef Australia – Strategy Meetings For A Fresh Masterchef In 2014.
Christine Sam of the Sun-Herald revealed yesterday that late last week there was a strategy meeting in Melbourne to talk about the 2014 series of Masterchef Australia.
This year Masterchef had a dramatic drop in ratings with the show averaging about 800,000 an episode. TEN told the Herald it was satisfied that it still held it appeal among the 25-54 year olds and they think there is plenty of life left in it.
However they also say they are looking forward to a new fresh version in 2014.
Indeed there is life left in this show and even though My Kitchen Rules knocked it out of the ball park ratings wise it certainly has a great impact in relation to contestant post-show career changes and viewers trying recipes they see on the show.
What is interesting is Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston are attending the strategy meeting. Sure they have been in all series and would have ideas on what worked this season and what was not so great but they might just be a little part of the problem.
However it also looks like TEN will be sticking with them as the judging panel for next year. Excutive Producer Margie Bashfield told Christine Sams the judges Preston, Mehigan and Calombaris are intrinsic to the show. She also said “I think they’re getting better. They have themost incredibly broad food knowledge. George, I think, has the biggest heart in television….. and Matt has just evolved to another level.”
They are not unlikable nor irritating but they are predictable. Also very glad that George Calombaris and Matt Preston stopped their pantomime routines.
Interestingly just yesterday a neighbour said to me that when they see the ads on television they think “Oh those three again”. So it appears he won’t be watching anytime soon. Admittedly that is only one person, but suspect with no new cast in the judging/mentoring roles they will find it hard to the people who used to watch to turn back in.
Now that does not mean flick the three completely but rotate them through. It also gives Gary, Matt and George the opportunity to have a different chemistry with other people. Matt Preston was fantastic with Marco Pierre White in Masterchef Professionals a show that deserved higher ratings. Though they needed to add a bit more drama in it like the trash talking you see on Hell’s Kitchen and Top Chef, and apparently it was there we just did not see it. Not that we will see that show again though all people who watched it thought highly of it.
Some women would be good. This year I can only remember seeing Maggie Beer early on in the season at Baross Bootcamp and Kirsten Tibbles set a pressure test. Maggie Beer might not be invited back due to her outburst earlier this year about reality shows using too many back stories and it not being all about the cooking. Interesting that reality TV is still an OK medium for her to flog her products through.
Also other interesting guest star chefs were Daniel Wilson from Huxtable who had a great TV personality as does Dan Hong who is a favourite of mine. Curtis Stone is a pure pro and one of the best challenges was when he and Shannon Bennett went back to their old high school and went head to head in a team challenge. But that was unique and hard to replicate each series.
One of the highest ratings weeks was Heston Blummenthal week which kills my theory that the cooking has to be accessible to viewers and the viewers can make it. People were lapping up his crazy cooking. Though word on the street is his Roast Lamb he made in Masterclass is delicious and easy to make!
Here are some thoughts on this series on what was good and what could do with improvement:
- Realising how much I miss the weekly routine of the mystery box and invention test would like to see them brought back as a Sunday staple;
- The contestants were not as strong as previous seasons but they were at their best when they got to cook their own food there needs to be more of that (see above);
- Challenges are fun and do break up the week however make them fun but only one a week otherwise some contestants get to coast through on others coat tails and others get put in elmination challenges because of others stuff ups;
- The girls v boys got people off side at the start particularly with the sexist ads. If they had just divided them that way at the beginning without all the gender war hype I doubt most people would have cared;
- Immunity pin challenges seemed to be fair this year except for the episode where it was certain one of the contestants would win one regardless of standard of cooking;
- Dubai was a bit of a let down, it was only two episodes after all the hype and only one really showcased the local cuisine;
- Hopefully next year they will go to India where there is a huge audience and it is an interesting cuisine;
- Keep in the come back week (I know I am in the minority on this one), but each year someone always gets unfairly eliminated and should have a shot of coming back in. However making it individual cooking not team challenges some good cooks were unfairly eliminated in this week this year. Twice people put up dish of the day and were gone.
- The four episodes are week are a good fit, and they could consider dumping Masterclass, or just have a couple of specials throughout the series.
What do you think would help freshen up Masterchef?