Overshadowed by controversy, Masterchef grand final drops 24% from last year

Shortly after it was announced all three of its long-time hosts would be dropped amid pay disputes and controversy over George Calombaris’ wages scandal, Masterchef aired its grand final winner announcement on Ten to 992,000 metro viewers.

This was a 24% drop on last year’s winner announcement, which had 1.309m. The episode itself was also down, drawing 831,000 metro viewers compared to 1.126m last year.

Ten had announced just hours before the final aired that it would be Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan’s final year as judges with the program, which they’ve been with for its entire 11 season run. The reason cited was a pay dispute, with rumours circling the trio were asking for an upwards of 40% increase on their current fee. This was backed up by Instagram posts run across all three judges’ profiles, which said they felt they’d needed to walk away after the negotiations broke down.


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Thank you so very much for supporting @masterchefau over the last 11 years. We have loved every single moment. It is however with a heavy heart that I can confirm that season 11 was our last. We were really keen to continue but we were unable to agree to all terms for the new contract. We have enjoyed 11 wonderful years on Masterchef Australia with Network Ten, and I want to take this opportunity to thank Ten for this amazing opportunity and for Network Ten’s backing of this very special show. We have met some beautiful people, discovered and guided some of the brightest up-and-comers in the Australian food scene, worked with the best chefs in the world in front of the camera, and with the TV industry’s finest professionals behind the scenes. And of course, we three judges have formed a lifelong friendship that will live on far beyond the show. I want to take this opportunity to thank you and everyone who has shared our amazing journey with us – especially all those fantastic contestants. I look forward to sharing many more adventures with you in the future. And finally I wish the new judges all the best with the show that we love so much. Thank you all. I don’t want to take any gloss off tonight’s well deserved winner so I will not be making any further comment. Love Matt.

A post shared by Matt Preston (@mattscravat) on

The winner announcement was the most-watched program in all three of the key advertising demographics – 16 to 39s, 18 to 49s and 25 to 54s – but it wasn’t enough to give Ten the audience share win overall, with Nine taking the top spot on 21.6%.

However, Masterchef did triumph over House Rules, which also aired its grand final. 730,000 viewers tuned in, a 200,000 drop from 2018 when 915,000 watched, which was itself a 200,000 drop from the year prior. Pete and Courtney were the winning couple, taking home $250,000. 782,000 metro viewers tuned in for the premiere episode in April.

Seven still had the most-watched show overall though, with 1.041m tuning in for Seven News. Nine News brought in 926,000 and ABC News 647,000.

Australian Ninja Warrior on Nine had 887,000, and placed behind Masterchef in the key advertising demographics.

507,000 metro viewers tuned in to watch Andrew Denton chat with Amanda Keller on Interview. Keller addressed the controversy following Tom Gleeson’s Gold Logie win, during which she was shown in the audience looking unimpressed as he gave his speech.

“I wasn’t unimpressed that he won. I think I was a little unimpressed just with the speech. There was a lack of graciousness and I think I see what Tom did, he wanted to make it a joke and I get that. But I thought it was unfortunate though that we were made to feel that we were needy or up ourselves for wanting it. Or for thinking it mattered,” said Keller.

On Foxtel, Sky News aired the second part of its Lawyer X documentary, hosted by new recruit, Peter Stefanovic. The show, Lawyer X: The Untold Story, brought in 96,000 viewers, down from yesterday’s 101,000 for the first half of the documentary, but still making it the most-watched show on subscription television.

In metro audiences 25-54 it was Nine’s win overall, with the channel holding a 24.0% audience share. Ten took the audience share in the 16-39s, holding 25.1%.

Below Nine in the total audience share, Seven held 21.3%, Ten 16.6% and ABC 8.9%. At a network level it was Nine’s night still, with a 28.3% audience share over Seven’s 27.7%, Ten’s 21.9% and ABC’s 13.6%.

Ten Bold was the most-watched secondary channel with 3.5%.


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