MasterChef Australia judges leave show
Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris will not return to MasterChef Australia next season, after Network 10 failed to reach an agreement with the judges.
The trio have been judges on the popular show for 11 years, originally taking up the mantle when the first season aired in 2009. The men were each requesting a 40 per cent increase to their $1 million salaries, according to various outlets.
“Despite months of negotiation, 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George,” CEO Paul Anderson said in a statement.
“Across 11 sensational seasons, MasterChef Australia has established itself as one of the most popular and respected cooking television series around the world. For more than a decade, the iconic series has shaped and driven the Australian public’s passion for food and cooking, delivered iconic television moments, and made the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true.
“We would like to thank Gary, George and Matt for their contribution over the past 11 years.
“MasterChef Australia has always been about ordinary Australians doing extraordinary things for the love of food and we believe it is very important to continue that ethos.
“Australia is full of remarkable cooking talent and we can’t wait to introduce another group — and the next generation of exceptional judges — in season 12 of MasterChef Australia next year.”
Preston released a statement on Twitter thanking viewers for supporting the show and acknowledging the lifelong friendship that he formed with Calombaris and Mehigan.
Mehigan also took to social media, posting at tribute to the show and it’s production team.
The announcement was made ahead of Tuesday night’s season finale. The show will go on, but a new set of judges are yet to be revealed.
The trio’s future has also been the subject of speculation, with news.com.au reporting they are set to form their own production company, GGM, with plans to pitch concepts to Netflix and Amazon.
The news comes after calls for Calombaris to be sacked over the wages scandal currently engulfing his restaurant empire Made Establishment. The celebrity chef and restaurateur has apologised for the underpayments, which were self-reported in 2016, but a petition to fire the judge from MasterChef Australia has been circulating for a number of days on megaphone.com.au. It currently has more than 25,000 signatures.
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After 11 sensational seasons, we bid a fond farewell to our judges – Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris. For more than a decade, #MasterChefAU has celebrated Australian food and made the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true. We thank Matt, George and Gary for being a part of this remarkable MasterChef legacy!