What’s on the Box?

Since the end of MasterChef on Sunday, a lot of people have been left with gaping holes in their lives. Many chose to fill the void with Dance Your Ass Off, if tonight’s Twitter trending topics is any indication.

What a spectacle; the fishnets, the spandex, the big hair…and that was just the host. Just kidding. Real car-crash stuff – can’t wait to see tomorrow’s ratings.

Speaking of ratings, boy did I get it wrong on the finale of MasterChef. I blame Matt Preston. I thought it would do more than 3 million, he wasn’t so sure, so I revised down to 2.6 to 2.8.

Should have stuck with my instinct – an average 3.72 million tuned in with a peak of 4.11 million – making it the most watched non-sporting event ever and Ten’s highest rating show. It was the third most watched show ever behind the 2005 Australian Open men’s final and 2003 World Cup Soccer Australia v England.

There are several new shows premiering tomorrow (Wednesday) with World’s Strictest Parents on Seven competing against Australia’s Perfect Couple on Nine. The latter is cringe-worthy, unless you think blindfolded kissing and an electric shock test will help determine who makes a perfect match. And host Jules Lund looks a bit like he has spent too much time on a Getaway sun and surf story.

Pick of Wednesday night is Fox8’s new drama The Secret Life of an American Teenager, a surprisingly poignant and humorous family/teen drama. Everyone’s favourite 80s teen flick star Molly Ringwald is the mother of a pretty, polite, all round nice girl who shocks her friends by getting pregnant at band camp.

Secret Life was created by Brenda Hampton of 7th Heaven fame but don’t let that deter you. The show’s second series recently started in the US so it has legs.

Seven has a big Thursday with the belated return of The Amazing Race, plus new Aussie shows TV Burp and Double Take. If the latter two programs can live up to the promos, we should be in for a laugh-filled night, even if a lot of the comedy in Double Take seems to rest on the shoulders of Paul McCarthy.

I’ve somehow managed to steer my eyes away from finding out the winner of TAR (series 14 ended in the US in May) thus far but am sure I will inadvertently see a spoiler soon. The first episode moves at a cracking pace and has two of the best challenges ever – a 70 storey bungee jump off a dam and a Swiss cheese challenge in which the giant wheels of cheese escape and cause mayhem. Hilarious!

 Add that to  the usual weird and wonderful mix of hillbillies, bimbos, bickering couples etc.  You can read more about TAR in The West on Thursday.

This Saturday at 7.30pm there’s the second season premiere of East of Everything on the ABC with Susie Porter and Richard Roxburgh (who has just been cast by Ten to play Bob Hawke). Meanwhile on SBS, those Mythbusters will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing with a special where they put conspiracy theories to the test to see whether the whole thing could have been a hoax.

I’m reserving judgment on Ten’s The 7pm Project which like any new live/news-panel/talk show needs time to find its feet (and audience).  It has had good and bad moments so far.

James’ opening night assessment of the 60 Minutes Jamie Neale story was pretty funny but Carrie’s blank moment this evening and the cross to MasterChef’s Julie cooking for a winner’s family didn’t quite cut it.

Had no idea who the entertainment reporter was so looked it up on the program website and eventually worked out she is Aleisha McCormack, a TV producer and standup comedian. 7pm Project site actually called her MacCormack but Google helped me anway. According to IMDB she was also a researcher on Glenn Robbins’ series Out of the Question.

If 7pm Project could just drop the use of the B word rhyming with witch, I think I’d be quite content. Although it’s not as family-friendly as MasterChef (which come to think of it did drop the S word a lot) it beats Home and Away and 2 1/2 Men.


Where to for MasterChef Australia Final 6?

Ten’s smash hit TV series of 2009 comes to an end tonight with many tipping the final cook off between Poh Ling Yeow and Julie Goodwin could crack the magic three million viewers.

My educated guess is around the 2.6 to 2.8 million. Now that I have typed that I am bound to be way off mark.

Last week I had the opportunity to speak to MasterChef judge and internationally acclaimed food critic Matt Preston for a MasterChef feature story that appeared in The West Australian on Friday July 17. Alas the story is not online.

As we all know Matt is passionate about food and boy, can he talk!

He had so much to say it seemed a crime not to use some of the leftovers from the story here.

Matt Preston on the career prospects of the MasterChef Australia final six:

“They all have potential; it’s a matter of them weathering the hysteria because when they come out of that house it is insane world out there in terms of how many people know them.

 “It will come down to how they weather that and how they focus on their core goal of what they want to do rather than endorsing this or that…”


Lucas: “He’s an incredible, likable down to earth bloke and that works very, very well on TV. He could be the next Stuart MacGill, like a foodie Stuart McGill.”

Julia:  “An amazing palette and restaurant cook; I could potentially see her writing recipes, doing cookbooks, stuff like that.”

Chris: “Will do the beer bar no doubt about that.”

Poh: “I think the Malaysian cook book will be a monster seller both here and internationally; there aren’t many good Malaysian cookbooks about. She has a great engaging personality and there aren’t that may young women out there doing food.”

Justine: “She’s such a beautiful cook I hope she will go and cook somewhere; I know there are at least four chefs she cooked for who will give her a job, so I don’t think she will have a problem landing herself in a restaurant. I think she will probably end up in a restaurant but I can also see her being in demand for TV for obvious reasons. She’s a good performer; all these guys have become very good performers.”

Julie: “Wants to do a family restaurant on the NSW coast. I think this cook book she wants to do, family cooking from different families and how they celebrate using food –  and how she wants to leave the last six pages blank so you can stick own pictures of own family and recipes – is a lovely idea.”

For the legions of Matt Preston fans lamenting his departure from our screens tonight, fear not. He has put his hand up to judge on the celebrity version of MasterChef  tipped to screen in September and has also filmed guest spots for Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader for Ten, First Tuesday Book Club for the ABC and history quiz AD/BC for SBS.


Masterchef Australia final 6 2009

Masterchef Australia final 6 2009