Ex-Studio 10 host Joe Hildebrand has pulled no punches in a fiery takedown of his former network's long-running cooking program, MasterChef.
In an opinion piece for Adelaide Now, the 44-year-old put the Channel 10 show on blast, posing the question: "who killed MasterChef?"
Joe's comments come amid the show's recent ratings slump which saw it trail behind popular (and some less popular) programs.
The MasterChef season premiere was the lowest-rating launch so far, attracting less than half the viewers that tuned in to last year's all-star Back To Win.
And Monday night's episode that featured international superstar chef Yotam Ottolenghi managed to attract just 545,000, a fact not lost on Joe.
"[MasterChef] was beaten comfortably not just by Nine’s Lego Masters and Seven’s Big Brother but also by 7.30 and Australian Story," he wrote.
Joe went on to joke about how Channel 10 appears not only to have lost its position behind its commercial network rivals Nine and Seven but also slipped behind the ABC.
"It seems Ten's mantra of 'happy to be No. 3' will have to change to 'happy to be behind the ABC,'" he quipped.
Joe, who quit Studio 10 in September last year, referenced the shock departure of MasterChef's original judging trio, Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, in 2019 after 10 years at the helm.
They were replaced by what Joe described as 'younger and fresher judges' Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo, a decision that he says paid off 'handsomely' for 2020's Back To Win.
But with regards to the current season, Joe wondered whether the show had maintained its 'wow factor'.
Joe announced he was quitting Studio 10 in September 2020, rather than taking on a reduced role with less pay.
His news came after his colleagues Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Natarsha Belling were made redundant as the network was forced to cut costs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Joe broke down in tears on-air when he told viewers was leaving after seven 'wonderful' years on the show.
The following week, Joe revealed he would be joining 2GB radio where he’ll be appearing on John Stanley’s hourly evening program from Thursday.
But he wasn't done with breakfast TV. Just two months after he stepped away from Studio 10, Joe appeared on rival network Channel Seven's The Morning Show.
With additional reporting by Marni Dixit.
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