'Masterchef Australia' breaks ratings record

Television juggernaut highest-rated non-sports program ever

SYDNEY -- After becoming the $100 million phenomenon of the Australian TV business during its second season, Sunday night’s finale of cooking juggernaut “Masterchef Australia” broke the ratings records set by season 1.

The final episode of the 12-week long series, which saw Tokyo-based Disney entertainment lawyer Adam Liaw crowned Australia’s best amateur cook, was watched by a massive 5.2 million people around the country on Network Ten, peaking at 5.74 million and making the program the highest-rated, non-sports program since the current ratings system was introduced in 2001. 

Those figure pushed Ten to a 75.2% commercial network share for the program and a 41% network share for the night.

The cooking competition, which this season has seen a raft of Australian and international chefs jostle to appear on the show, cemented itself in the national consciousness in particular last week when the Australian prime minister and opposition leader agreed to bring forward their election Live TV debate by an hour so it wouldn’t; clash with the finale. 

“MasterChef has earned its place as one of Australia’s favorite television series with a line-up of diverse contestants, expert judges, some of the most talented local and international guest chefs, dramatic challenges and a healthy serve of appetizing food,” Ten’s chief programming officer David Mott said.

“My thanks and congratulations to the Network Ten and FremantleMedia Australia production teams, as well as format owner, Shine Reveille for another great season,” Mott added. 

The Australian production airs a massive nine hours per week, stripped over six nights, and is being used as the template for Fox’s upcoming “Masterchef USA.” 

Aiming to capitalize on the feel-good popularity of the cooking genre, rival Seven Network last week commissioned “Iron Chef Australia” for next year. 

Ten meanwhile will air “Junior Masterchef”after the Commonwealth Games. Both those shows will be produced by Shine Australia, which will also take over production of the Masterchef Australia program form 2012.
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