CTV whipped aspiring chefs from across Canada into a frenzy on Thursday morning by confirming production on Masterchef Canada, but there’s a catch. Those holding out for critiques from U.S. judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot will be more disappointed than a fallen soufflé.
Phil King, president of CTV programming and sports, tells TV Guide Canada that the judges on the homegrown format will be Canadian, and there’s a long list to choose from.
“Gordon is a little busy, I mean he’s starting his fifth or sixth show!” King laughed. “We’ll get our own Canadian chefs. There is surprisingly a big list of chefs that want to do this. We’re scouring the globe.”
In addition to featuring Canadian talent, Masterchef Canada will also focus on region-specific Canadian ingredients, like Alberta beef, east-coast seafood, Ontario produce and more. King also points out that the country’s diverse ethnicity will make for a wide-variety of new and exciting dishes.
In Canada, the American version of Masterchef is the second-highest summer reality show behind Global’s Big Brother, which also underwent a Canadian format this past spring and has been renewed for a second season. The Ramsay-helmed competition, which features home cooks vying for a cash prize and a cookbook deal, is up 19 per cent in viewers so far since its fourth season on May 22. The format is currently produced in over 35 countries.
Building on the show’s success, CTV also announced the acquisition of this fall’s seven-week Masterchef Junior run, in which Ramsay puts kids to the test in the kitchen. The tentative plan is for Masterchef Canada to unroll next winter, and to limit the episodes to once-per-week format like the revamped Fox series does.
Whether three courses of Masterchef in one television season will cause viewer fatigue remains to be seen, but King doesn’t seem worried. He points out that a seven week run for the Junior edition will only bring us to December, and cites the success of two-cycle reality shows like The Voice and Survivor, which have both fall and winter instalments, as examples.
“If there were two Masterchef cycles on in the U.S., maybe it would feel a little cramped in there,” he says. “But we haven’t seen that with The Amazing Race Canada yet. Granted, we haven’t seen the ratings yet, but we’re feeling damned confident.”
The Amazing Race Canada, with newly announced host Jon Montgomery debuts this July.
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