MasterChef: The Professionals is one of the “best seasons yet” and holds the power to turn Ten’s ratings woes to wins, media experts have predicted.
Three days out from the program’s premiere this Sunday, media specialists told B&T that taking the offensive and launching ahead of the official ratings season was a smart move by Ten.
But only if it can hold its own against the deluge of summer sport.
“Scheduling MasterChef prior to the ratings season is a smart move for Ten and a leg up on programming they desperately need,” Nicole Turley, national trading director at Ikon, said.
“Let’s hope there isn’t a cliff hanger on the Tennis that night.”
Steve Allen, media analyst at Fusion Strategy, said The Professoinals’ premiere should be strong but its first outing may be muted by the competition.
“Only one to 1.1 million viewers due to unique confluence of tennis, cricket, bodice ripping drama on ABC and last of drama documentary on SBS,” Allen predicted.
The ratings battle will remain tough for MasterChef well beyond Sunday with one day international cricket matches scheduled throughout the show’s first week as well as week three and four.
The launch of Seven’s My Kitchen Rules (MKR) on January 28 will also test the strength of the new MasterChef format.
While an early launch is risky, according to OMD’s head of TV Melissa Hey, it offers Ten the best opportunity to steal would-be MKR viewers from Seven.
“My Kitchen Rules would otherwise be a priority for viewers,” Hey said.
“This way Ten may be able to lock them into MasterChef as it is unlikely people will follow both.”
Turley said it is “highly likely” MKR will pull viewers from Ten once it kicks-off, but not if audiences connect with the MasterChef contestants first.
“It all comes down to the talent. If MasterChef can secure a place in the evening viewing schedule then it may be MKR on the PVR,” Turley said.
“MasterChef: The Professionals at first glance looks to be one of the best seasons yet. It has the drama, the intensity and also people who can cook.
“In previous years we have been missing some of the ‘talent’ in the kitchen and casting has been centered around personalities for TV – not whether they are the best chef or not.”
Turley believes Ten has got it right with the combination of hosts this year, with chef Marco Pierre White joining returning foodie Matt Preston.
“The talent of chefs is strong, we will be sure to see some great cooking, but we also need to relate to it – feel like we can cook it too at home.”
Allen predicts MasterChef: The Professionals will average above one million viewers and describes the program as “important, but not the be all and end all” for Ten.
“Ten have a bit happening then….it is really more important to Shine,” he added.
Turley describes the cooking competition as Ten’s “launch pin for the year”.
“It is the show that will either restore confidence back in the market, or slow down Ten’s recovery.”
Meanwhile, two new brands have signed as sponsors of the refreshed MasterChef with BT and Hewlett-Packard, according to The Australian.
Barilla Australia has re-joined as the Fiat Chrysler Group becomes a new principal sponsor of the program along with long-running sponsor Coles.
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