'MasterChef Junior' Gets Early Season 3 Renewal at Fox

The network has picked up eight episodes for another season, less than three months after it renewed the Gordon Ramsay series for a second round.
"MasterChef Junior"

Fox is showing confidence in MasterChef Junior.

The network has handed out an early third-season renewal for Gordon Ramsay's MasterChef Junior, Fox announced Wednesday.

The eight-episode pickup comes less than three months after the network renewed the reality competition series for a second season. Production on seasons two and three of the cooking show from Shine America will begin in the spring.

MasterChef Junior has proven itself to be the little show with a big bite -- so big, we’ve picked it up for a third season,” said Simon Andreae, executive vp alternative entertainment at Fox. “It’s incredible to see how unbelievably creative and skilled kids can be in the kitchen -- some before they’ve even learned how to spell what they’re cooking! We can’t wait to meet the talent that our judges discover in the next two cycles."

PHOTOS: THR's Reality Roundtable With Gordon Ramsay

MasterChef Junior, a spinoff from Ramsay's MasterChef franchise, opened well in September. The show, produced by Ramsay's One Potato Two Potato, fared well in its Friday slot with an average 1.4 rating among adults 18-49 and 5.1 million viewers. Its time-shifting, however, has been significant. The series outperformed all Big Four unscripted offerings in its DVR growth, improving 50 percent to an average 2.1 rating in the key demo.

Ramsay, who signed a deal with Fox last summer that will keep his programming on the network through at least 2015, will continue to serve as a judge and host on Junior -- alongside parent series panelists Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot.

Ramsay will continue to have five series on the network: MasterChef Junior, MasterChef, Hell's Kitchen, Hotel Hell and Kitchen Nightmares.

A premiere date for MasterChef Junior's second season has not yet been announced, though it will likely debut in the fall. Hell's Kitchen, meanwhile, will return March 13 on Fox.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit