Former MasterChef hosts Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan have made a dramatic return to the spotlight, less than a month after their very public axing from the long-running cooking show.
After more than a decade at Channel 10, it was revealed on Wednesday night that the food critic and chef are jumping ship to rival network Seven to front up a brand new program, Plate Of Origin.
My Kitchen Rules’ Manu Feildel was announced as the final member of the hosting trio at Channel Seven's Upfronts presentation, making it very clear that Matt and Gary’s controversial co-host George Calombaris was not part of their ‘package deal’.
When Seven later shared the news on their social media accounts, George’s absence - and Manu’s substitution - was not lost on fans who were quick to point it out in the comments.
“I think...Manu ate George!!!” laughed one.
“George looks different,” added another sarcastically.
The chef and restauranteur himself has since addressed the apparent snub on his own Instagram page, congratulating the three hosts on their new roles.
“Congrats great men @mattscravat @garymehigan @manufeildelofficial on your new show. I wish all the best. Another opportunity to put joy and happiness into peoples lives. GC,” he wrote.
Others took the opportunity to pan Plate Of Origin at the outset, with one calling it a ‘dud’ and another saying that they’re ‘sick of food shows’.
“Another one, yuk,” commented one.
“No thanx!” said another.
One added, “Kind of sick of food shows,” while another wrote, “double yawn”.
“Another dud show on 7. F#%&in try hards,” slammed one.
Another viewer took issue with the French member of the panel, writing, “Manu lost me a long time back. Sold his soul for MKR”.
Matt and Gary’s ‘gardening leave’
While Manu was on hand at the event to spruik the show, new imports Matt and Gary were nowhere to be seen, forcing Seven to use a composite image of the three men for the presentation.
According to the network, the pair are ‘on gardening leave,’ suggesting that they are still under contract with their former employer, 10, and are legally prohibited from working with a competitor until their notice period expires.
Seven attempted to make light of the awkward moment on the night by superimposing gardening gloves and potted plants on Matt and Gary’s hands.
“Nice photoshop attempt,” one viewer joked over on Facebook.
Another pointed out that the show’s tagline may have been lifted from another cooking program.
“Isn't which cuisine will reign supreme an Iron Chef saying?” the eagle-eyed fan questioned.
Others were excited for Plate Of Origin, with one writing, “Yes, exciting” and another adding, “Can’t wait”.
“Looks like it might work,” said one.
What is Plate Of Origin about?
Plate of Origin is an original format from Seven Studios that sees teams of cooks from diverse cultural backgrounds compete to see which of their chosen cuisines is the best.
“Food superstars Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan join Manu Feildel for Plate of Origin, where we’re not just reaching every corner of Australia… We’re going BIGGER! Which cuisine will reign supreme in this worldwide food fight?” was the caption on Seven’s official Facebook post.
While there is currently no premiere date, Plate of Origin is expected to hit TV screens after the Tokyo Olympics wraps up in early August 2020.
Channel Seven’s 2020 lineup
Also at the Upfronts, Channel Seven CEO James Warburton openly admitted the network’s recent ‘failures’ and acknowledged the need to revive its content offering following a ‘disappointing’ year.
“We’re very open about the fact that Sunday to Tuesday 7.30 pm has been a problem, we've had too many poor program failures and we haven't lived up to our own standards,” James said.
“The last quarter we haven't thrown a punch, and it’s been disappointing,” he added.
In order to turn the ship around, Seven unveiled a ‘refreshed’ lineup of reality TV shows including Plate Of Origin, a revamped version of MKR: The Rivals which will see Colin Fassinge and Manu taking the spotlight as mentors and Pete Evans as host.
Jamie Durie will step into Joh Grigg’s role as host of an amped-up version of House Rules: High Stakes alongside Kyly Clarke, wife of retired sportsman Michael Clarke.
The Farmer Wants a Wife, Big Brother, Mega Mini Golf and SAS: Who Dares Wins, an Aussie version of the hit Brit show, rounds out Seven’s 2020 reality offering.
In terms of drama, The Good Doctor, Manhunt and, of course, Home and Away all return along with new shows Royal Flying Doctor Service and Between Two Worlds.
The 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, the AFL and summer cricket fulfil Seven’s sport quota.
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