Tuesday 20 March 2018

Celebrity Masterchef Ireland is a TV3 disappointment pulling in just 77k viewers per episode

Celebrity Masterchef Ireland, 2016. Photography by Ruth Medjber www.ruthlessimagery.com
Celebrity Masterchef Ireland, 2016. Photography by Ruth Medjber www.ruthlessimagery.com
PANNED: 'Celebrity Masterchef Ireland' stars Nadia Forde, Samantha Mumba and Holly Carpenter. Photo: Kip Carroll
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

They might look the part when cooking up a storm in the kitchen, but Irish celebrities are failing to entice viewers with the new series of Celebrity Masterchef Ireland.

The show, which proved a big hit on RTE - pulling in an average of 380,000 viewers per episode in Montrose - has failed to hit the sweet spot in its new home at TV3.

Celebrity Masterchef Ireland, 2016. Photography by Ruth Medjber www.ruthlessimagery.com
Group shot
Celebrity Masterchef Ireland, 2016. Photography by Ruth Medjber www.ruthlessimagery.com Group shot

Billed as one of TV3's big wins at its latest TV launch, the show is now only drawing an average of 77,000 viewers.

That's down again from the previous two episodes, where it brought in an average of 121,000 viewers and then 104,000.

Celebrity cooks - former athlete Sonia O'Sullivan, actress Samantha Mumba, RTE weather forecaster Evelyn Cusack, former Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh and models Holly Carpenter and Nadia Forde were all drafted in to keep viewers entertained, alongside charity boss Colm O'Gorman, actor Simon Delaney and singer-songwriter Mundy - but things haven't gone as expected.

As a source close to RTE explained: "RTE had the option of airing the show again, but passed.

"It was a solid show but never set the world alight. And they have enough bought-in formats these days between Dancing with the Stars and First Dates Ireland. So they let TV3 take it.''

The source added: "In fairness to Shinawil [the production company behind it], it's a good show and if it was on RTE One at 8pm it would do very well. But no one in RTE can understand why Bill Malone placed it at 10pm - everyone knows it's far too late at night for food programmes. I would say scheduling was the major factor. You live or die by scheduling. It should have gone out at 8pm or 9pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday to really have had a chance of being a hit.

"It's no wonder it's getting trounced in the ratings by Brendan Courtney's documentary [We need to Talk About Dad] and Dr Eva's documentary, Medication Nation. But to only get 77,000 on average on a Monday night is astonishing.''

The source added: "Remember, Masterchef is a very expensive programme to make, it may cost as much as Red Rock, which is around €100,000-plus per episode. So it would be tough to take for TV3."

Just in case the celebrity factor didn't work - two new judges were also brought in to add to the show's pulling power. Michelin-star chef Daniel Clifford and respected London chef Robin Gill headed the programme.

But some critics have observed, despite their kitchen credentials, the two men are not as big a draw as Dylan McGrath and Nick Munier, who fronted the show on RTE.

Meanwhile, Nadia Forde became the latest contestant to leave the show, having gone to the pantry in search of cod and returned brandishing oysters.

After a suggestion from judge Daniel Clifford to cook the oysters in tempura batter as part of a sushi platter, Forde considered deep-frying the shell before thinking the better of it. The model took her dismissal on the chin, saying: "I feel like I deserve to go."

'Celebrity Masterchef Ireland' airs every Monday at 10pm on TV3

Sunday Independent

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