Network Ten Sews Up 'Masterchef' for Next Three Years

Australia's most popular television show will stay on Network Ten at least through 2015, thanks to a new deal between the show's producers and its current broadcast home.

SYDNEY -- Australia’s most popular television show ever, Masterchef, is guaranteed to remain on Network Ten after the broadcaster Tuesday announced it had signed a multi-year, multi-platform deal with Shine Australia for the show from 2012. 

The rights to make Masterchef revert to Shine from current producers Fremantle Media Australia next year for a minimum of three years, after Masterchef Australia creators, Mark and Carl Fennessy, defected from FMA to start Shine Australia last year. 

Masterchef Australia is now the benchmark for other versions of the program around the world, with Masterchef UK taking on a new set based  and bigger attitude based on the Australian warehouse style kitchen, while Masterchef France, which launched last year, follows the Masterchef Australia format bible exactly. 

It is believed that rival networks Seven and Nine tried to wrest the rights to the ratings juggernaut from Ten, with reports last year that the series had generated around AUS$100 million ($100.22 million) in advertising and sponsorships for the TV show and its website, spin-off sales of products and books by Masterchef’s hosts and contestants, the Junior Masterchef series and the launch of Masterchef Magazine here.  

The Masterchef finale last year aired to over 4 million households, making it the highest rating non-sports program ever on Australian TV, while its season average over five nights per week was 1.9 million viewers, nationally. 

"MasterChef is the hottest property on Australian TV, so naturally it was hotly contested. Ten is the incumbent and we have a great relationship with Shine.  We are working on a lot of projects, making some superb television together," said Ten chief programming officer David Mott said.

“We are delighted to formalise a long-term deal for MasterChef Australia with our partners at Network Ten. The show continues to beat even its own remarkable ratings records, and its unprecedented impact is felt not only in Australia but around the world. We look forward to building on this success with Network Ten over the upcoming years across a variety of platforms," Elisabeth Murdoch, chairman and CEO, Shine Group, said.

MasterChef Australia is a truly unique piece of television with universal appeal for all Australians. We started this journey with Network Ten three years ago and we’re delighted its future is secure for the longer term. We look forward to many new adventures and even greater success with this extraordinary brand.” added Shine Australia CEO, Mark Fennessy.

Shine Australia made last year's spin-off, Junior Masterchef, for Ten and s currently producing The Biggest Loser for the network. It has also been commissioned by Ten to create a new home renovation format, The Renovators

Separately and in unrelated deals, Elisabeth Murdoch’s brother Lachlan late last year acquired a 9% stake in Network Ten parent, Ten Group Holdings, alongside Australian media scion, James Packer, jointly making them the largest shareholders in the network, which is Australia’s third-ranked free to air broadcaster.