The TV rumour mill is spinning, with the latest reports suggesting former MasterChef judges Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan are heading to Seven to host My Kitchen Rules.
According to The Australian‘s Diary, sources saw Mehigan and Preston at Seven’s Redfern studio where it is believed they have been discussing taking over Seven’s flagship cooking show in 2020.
Just last month the Sydney Morning Herald also reported sources saying Preston and Mehigan would be making the network switch.
Interestingly, both reports do not mention George Calombaris joining Preston and Mehigan, which was allegedly the reason the trio left MasterChef this year after speculation 10 would not renew Calombaris’ contract following the revelation he had been underpaying his restaurant staff.
Current hosts of MKR, Manu Feildel and Pete Evans, will reportedly still be apart of the show but act in more of a supporting role.
However, Preston told news.com.au today the rumours aren’t true.
“I can confirm that I am talking to other networks and producers about new projects for 2020 and beyond.
“Taking over MKR as host/judge is not on the agenda! I have too much love for Manu, Colin and Pete to do that!”
Despite the fact MKR and MasterChef air at different times during the year, they are both Seven and 10’s leading cooking shows and generally pull decent numbers.
This year, MKR outshone MasterChef, averaging 850,000 metro viewers each episode, while MasterChef hovered around the 650,000 mark.
A Seven spokesperson told B&T that both Mehigan and Preston are on gardening leave from 10 and cannot legally be signed by any other network until that ends at the conclusion of this year.
There was also speculation in July the three are eyeing a multimillion-dollar deal with either Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Shine, the producers of MasterChef Australia, syndicate the series to a number of overseas countries and it’s apparently huge in places like India and South Africa, giving the three immediate clout with a global audience.
Yet according to the Daily Telegraph, the trio recently formed their own production company, GGM Pty Ltd, to sell themselves to networks as a package deal.
Last week at 10’s Upfronts, Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen were announced as the new hosts for MasterChef 2020.
Seven’s programming strategy is still being discussed and will be revealed at the network’s upfronts event to be held on 23 October.