My Kitchen Rules is getting a major facelift in 2022 with an international celebrity name signing on to co-host the show alongside Manu Feildel.
Two years after Seven sensationally parted ways with Pete Evans, Britain’s cooking goddess Nigella Lawson will be stepping into his role and travelling around Australia to sit down to home dinner parties.
Manu, Nigella and former Masterchef judge Matt Preston, will head up this year’s cast, while fellow celebrity chefs Curtis Stone and Colin Fassnidge will fill guest roles on the show.
MKR hasn’t been on our screens since the eleventh season aired in early 2020 with very few people tuning in.
Once an incredibly popular show capable of drawing in audiences of close to two million, the last season’s finale peaked at a dismal 500,000 viewers.
The show’s focus on contestant based drama (à la Married At First Sight), rather than on cooking, was blamed for its lack of success with plenty of fan backlash on Twitter.
“Was so much better when they did the home town cooks and every team voted individually as it actually felt like a COOKING show... It’s turned into MAFS/Big Brother somehow,” one viewer said at the time.
“Why would you people change a great show to this sh*t. I even gave it another go last night but it was so tragic I turned it off,” another said.
The other major change made for the eleventh season was that Pete, who had been at the helm of the show alongside Manu since its inception in 2010, had been sidelined and relegated to a more minor role.
Instead, fellow judge Colin, who had previously occupied a supporting role, moved into the seat next to Manu.
Seven also decided to air it at the same time as ratings juggernaut Married at First Sight and the Australian Open, a move Colin labelled as 'stupid' at the time.
“This year was the best one we’ve done but not everyone’s watching it, at the moment, cause we’ve got some people in Channel 7 who don’t know how to program a show,” he said.
Pete Evans dropped
Then in May 2020, as Seven was making cuts across the board, the network parted ways with controversial presenter Pete altogether.
The announcement came just weeks after Pete’s company was slapped with over $25,000 in fines from the Therapeutic Goods Administration after it spruiked a $15,000 lamp as a potential coronavirus treatment.
At the time, Seven did not comment on whether the fines were linked to the decision to drop Pete from the lineup.
Manu and Colin still on team Pete
It seems Pete has not lost the support of his former MKR castmates, however, and just a few months ago Manu said they are still in touch and that Pete will be missed in the 2022 season.
“I am a little sad I suppose,” he told the Daily Telegraph in December last year, “Pete and I are great mates and nothing has changed there.”
“We have worked together for a very long time and I love the guy. The fact he won’t be sitting next to me is not my choice.”
Back in 2020, Colin also expressed his support for Pete, telling The Briefing podcast, “Look Pete’s a mate of mine… We agree on some stuff and we don’t agree on other things. But, you know, it’s a free country and Pete’s allowed to say what he wants as long as he doesn’t harm anyone.”
“I’ll just leave it at that, Pete’s a mate of mine, that’s it. You stand by your mates, that’s all I say.”
MKR's new look season in 2022
After a year off-air, MKR hopes to make a triumphant return in 2022 with its new hosting lineup and a slightly altered format.
The new season of MKR featuring Nigella Lawson and Matt Preston alongside Manu will debut later this year and promises a return to home cooking.
"It's state versus state as the beloved competition goes back to its original recipe – real people cooking real food, in their own homes, serving love on a plate to the judges and their fellow contestants," Seven said in a statement.
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