5:30pm PT by Kate Stanhope
Graham Elliot Leaving 'MasterChef' and 'MasterChef Junior'
MasterChef is saying goodbye to one of its own.
Longtime judge Graham Elliot will exit the reality competition series and its spinoff, MasterChef Junior, after the upcoming fourth season of the latter, Fox announced on Friday.
Elliot's exit comes after five years with the franchise. His replacement is expected to be announced in 2016.
“Graham has been an incredible judge and mentor both on MasterChef and MasterChef Junior," producers Endemol Shine North America, One Potato Two Potato and Fox said in a joint statement. "He’s provided insightful guidance and support to hundreds of participants who have entered the MasterChef kitchen, and he has played an integral role in discovering some of the country’s greatest home cooks. Graham will always be a part of our MasterChef family, and we wish him all the best in his next chapter.”
Added executive producer and judge Gordon Ramsay: “We’ve all loved having Graham as part of the MasterChef family, and the exciting and interesting part of reality television is that it’s always evolving and changing,"
Elliot is the second judge to exit MasterChef in as many years. Joe Bastianich, who also served as a judge on MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, announced his departure in late 2014. He was subsequently replaced by pastry chef Christina Tosi.
The MasterChef franchise continues to play an important role on Fox's schedule, particularly with fellow unscripted veteran American Idol about to say farewell after 15 seasons. Earlier on Friday, Fox announced the first-ever celebrity MasterChef special that will pit famous faces like Gigi Hadid and Empire's Kaitlin Doubleday against other stars for charity. The special is slated for Jan. 18.
In addition to MasterChef, Elliot also hosts Food Network's Craziest Restaurants in America. He is repped by CAA.