- Publish Date
- Friday, 22 September 2023, 12:03PM
MasterChef Australia is set to resume filming at the end of this year, and everyone is waiting with bated breath to see who will replace the late Jock Zonfrillo, who tragically passed away in April at the age of 46.
Rumours have been running rampant this week that iconic British chef Jamie Oliver could be up for the job, which would seen him join judges Melissa Leong and Andy Allen. It has been reported an A$2 million ($2.17 million) deal is in talks.
Oliver added fuel to the fire when he announced he’d be coming to the land Downunder on November 11 to host an in-conversation event with Leong at the Sydney Opera House. The appearance is set to coincide with filming, which usually starts in November and runs into the new year at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
However, news.com.au reports that Oliver, 48, who has featured on the cooking show multiple times as a guest judge, will not be taking Zonfrillo’s place.
An announcement is expected to be made at Channel 10′s ‘Upfronts’ event, which is set to happen in the next few months.
TV sources have also hinted that it’s highly possible only Leong and Allen will front the MasterChef 2024 season, which would be the cost-effective choice for the show.
MasterChef is one of the most expensive shows on Australian TV, allegedly costing the network A$800,000 ($868,000) per episode. With 50 episodes this year, the annual spending is estimated to be around A$40 million ($43 million).
According to news.com.au, the judges are thought to be making roughly A$1 million ($1.08 million) each per season.
This number doesn’t include the MasterChef spin-off series in the works, which was revealed at last year’s Channel 10 Upfronts event.
Dessert Masters, which was supposed to premiere in 2023 but is yet to have an air date, will see Leong and Amaury Guichon judge the cooking show.
MasterChef’s 15th season hit screens on May 7, attracting 761,000 viewers across the five-city metro rankings. The premiere marked the show’s biggest debut since 2020, which saw 1.23 million viewers tune in for Leong, Allen and Zonfrillo’s first season on the cooking series.
The show saw a dip to 365,000 around midway through the season, as it regularly had to fight for timeslots against rival networks Seven and Nine, prior to a climb to 698,000 viewers for the grand finale in July.
A Channel 10 representative revealed in a statement to news.com.au: “Information about the upcoming season of MasterChef Australia will be shared in the coming months.”
This article was first published in the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.
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