Former Studio 10 host Joe Hildebrand says MasterChef is DEAD after it fell behind the ABC in the ratings
Joe Hildebrand has taken a swipe at Channel 10 over the lacklustre ratings for MasterChef Australia.
In a column for News Corp, the former Studio 10 host noted the reality TV cooking competition had been defeated by ABC's 7:30 and Australian Story.
'It seems Ten's mantra of "happy to be No. 3" will have to change to "happy to be behind the ABC",' he wrote.
'The body might still be as warm as Nigella Lawson's freshly baked marshmallow and rhubarb cake but the time has come to ask: who killed MasterChef?' he added.
Joe was a panellist on Channel 10's morning program Studio 10 from 2013 to 2020.
He left the talk show for a new gig with 2GB and to continue writing for News Corp.
Meanwhile, former Channel 10 executive Rob McKnight has said the network's top brass should be worried amid plunging ratings for its flagship cooking show.
Rob, who is the editor of television industry bible TV Blackbox, said MasterChef had been 'out-niced' by the Nine Network's family-friendly Lego Masters.
'I really have sympathy for those in control at 10, because the show is up against stiff competition in Lego Masters and Big Brother,' he said.
'Lego Masters has essentially "out-niced" MasterChef and still feels fresh.'
He said that after 13 seasons the normal edition of the show 'doesn't cut it anymore', and last year's impressive ratings were mainly due to the cast of returning favourites, such as Poh Ling Yeow.
The former exec producer of Studio 10, who now hosts The Anj, Rob & Robbo Show, said he expects MasterChef to be revamped for 2022 given its importance in Channel 10's prime-time schedule.
'When a top performer bombs the way MasterChef has, you can expect changes are coming,' he said, adding that its struggle must be a 'real worry' for 10.
'Executives will have to think very carefully about where they go from here. Make no mistake, the show will be back next year - it's just too important to 10 not to be,' Mr McKnight observed.
'TV audiences are fractured and we have too many options now. It's important that every show served up brings something new.'
He concluded by saying he believes the MasterChef brand still has 'plenty of life left' but it needs to evolve and deliver something new for viewers.
Mr McKnight's commentary comes after the culinary program pulled in a paltry 527,000 metro viewers on Sunday, according to Mediaweek.
This was no doubt a sour serving for the reality show which broke the 'magic million' mark in its first week last year - including nearly 1.1 million for its second episode.
The series had managed to reach more than a million viewers four nights in a row during its debut week in 2020.
But this year MasterChef is already being beaten by Nine's Lego Masters, which appears to have stolen its momentum - and viewers.
MasterChef season 13 launched to just 670,000 metro viewers on April 19.
This was a considerable drop from the 1.23 million who watched the premiere of MasterChef: Back to Win on April 13, 2020.