‘Absolute no-brainer’: Ex-MasterChef judges join Seven

One man's trash is another man's treasure. That's the theory of new Seven boss James Warburton who has signed former MasterChef judges Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan to host new cooking show Plate of Origin alongside Manu Feildel in 2020.

"They are superstars, I can't believe Ten let them go," Warburton told Confidential. "Those guys are hard working absolute superstars, they are loved by the audience, 15 million people watched either MKR or MasterChef so having the best of the best with those guys in it to me is an absolute no-brainer."

Warburton's comments came as he sat down with Confidential at Seven's 2020 programming launch at ICC Sydney.

Ex-MasterChef judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris.
Ex-MasterChef judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris.

He's also bringing back Big Brother, which has been widely rumoured, and Farmer Wants A Wife.

House Rules too will have a new look with a fresh set of judges with Kyly Clarke and Saul Myers joining Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and hosts Jamie Durie and Abbey Gelmi.

"This is the dream job for me," said Clarke, the interior designer wife of cricket great Michael Clarke. "This is bringing two of my career loves together, interior design and TV presenting."

Preston and Mehigan meanwhile remain contracted to Channel 10 until the end of the year so were unable to attend the rival event for Seven. Also departing MasterChef, George Calombaris is with Ten until mid next year so wasn't able to be included in the line-up.

"George isn't available until July next year so it depends where we are with our formats," Warburton said of Calombaris, who earlier this year was at the centre of a wages scandal. "Never say never."

Seven boss James Warburton. Picture: Christian Gilles
Seven boss James Warburton. Picture: Christian Gilles

Of Mehigan and Preston, Feildel said: "If they do what they did on Ten, enjoy themselves, and do it for the right reasons, I think it could work for all of us. We haven't been told much, other than it's going to run on the back of the (Tokyo) Olympics, and the format is all about showing food from around the world. We will have teams cooking different cuisines, and judge them."

My Kitchen Rules will return to Seven in 2020 with a Rivals theme and will see five former favourite teams compete against five new teams.

New to the job, Warburton didn't hold back in detailing mistakes of the past while committing to continue to streamline the business after this week's announcement Seven West Media had sold Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media.

Kyly Clarke will host a new look House Rules. Picture: Toby Zerna
Kyly Clarke will host a new look House Rules. Picture: Toby Zerna

"We have been too inward and we've been too stagnant and tired," he said. "We had two good brands running for us this year in MKR and House Rules, that was 24 weeks of the year, and again I say very openly and clearly that we've had too many failures. In the back end of the year, we haven't thrown a punch and that was disappointing. We've made some poor choices so this is getting back to the discipline of strategy."

Elsewhere on the programming slate, Seven announced new shows including family show Mega Mini Golf, celebrity fitness test SAS: Who Dares Wins, and Hollywood star Rebel Wilson to helm a dog show, Pooch Perfect.

Play School presenter and actor Justine Clarke will also headline a new TV drama, RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service), alongside Rob Collins and Stephen Peacocke.

"It will be based on true stories," Clarke said of the show that will be shot in Broken Hill next year. "The Royal Flying Doctor Service is so much a part of our history and connects us to the bush, regional and remote Australia so I think it is a great time for this show as well with so much focus on the drought and the bush. It is just another great way to turn inwards as we are always so focused on the ocean but there is so much beauty inland."

 

 

Plate of Origin will also feature MKR judge Manu Feildel. Picture: Toby Zerna
Plate of Origin will also feature MKR judge Manu Feildel. Picture: Toby Zerna


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