HD Ratings: Can MasterChef NZ Rise to the Occasion?

Can TV3 mastermind MasterChef NZ’s revival?

Tomorrow it’s pre-empting Safe Crackers and American Ninja to repeat the premiere 24 hours ahead of the next new episode.

And from August 10, it will screen a second hour-long instalment 7.30 Mondays, sandwiched between the launches of Story and Shark Tank.

This week’s headlines said MasterChef NZ’s premiere fell flatter than a souffle.

But closer scrutiny of the demographics that matter most suggest the show’s appeal is far from stale.

Moreover, after this weekend it won’t be squaring off against TV2’s crowd-pleasing The Voice Australia.

The premiere averaged 4.1% – 5.3% of the key demos and topped 5% only among TV3’s target audience, 25-54 year-olds.

But this was off the back of a weak news and current affairs lead-in and although numbers were low across the board, viewership built significantly in each of the key demos over the 90-minute broadcast.

Shows like MasterChef NZ often take a few weeks to warm up and build momentum as the contestants become better known and the stakes higher.

So it’s misleading to compare the season’s premiere’s ratings with averages of series that previously aired in the slot.

Mix in the social media and catch-up factors, along with potentially weaker competition on TV2, and MasterChef NZ’s Sunday ratings are bound to improve while its Monday night debut will benefit from curiosity in the Campbell Live successor and the appeal of a new reality contest.

TV3 also is lining up some top movies for Sunday nights, like The Heat, which will be more competitive against TV2’s than Sunday’s Safe House finale (0.8% – 1.8%) was against the network premiere of Pacific Rim (5.9% -0 7.5%).

In the meantime, TV3 will be relieved its Friday night ratings have improved: after weeks of limping along, Jono and Ben at last appear to have regained their popularity, with last week’s episode averaging 5.8% – 7.2%.

It was still beaten by The Voice Australia (8.0% – 10.4%) but trounced TV1’s Kiwi Living (3.8% – 6.2%).

And the rest of the network’s Friday line-up is solid, with The Graham Norton Show and 7 Days dominating their slots and newcomer Chopper’s Republic of Anzakistan proving competitive.

There have been gains on Thursdays, too, with Born Naughty and Age Gap Love winning their hours among household shoppers with kids while rating surprisingly well against TV1’s new Mrs Brown’s Boy’s specials and TV2’s premieres of Neighbours at War and Bogans.

Last night Bogans averaged 5.6% – 6.8% off the back of Neighbours at War’s 7.0% – 8.0%, and both seesawed with Mrs Brown’s Boys, 4.9% – 7.3%.

Competition was keen at 7.30, too, when TV1’s George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces averaged 3.8% – 9.9% opposite TV3’s Kevin McCloud’s Man Made Home, 3.4% – 7.4%.

But neither could eclipse TV2’s Police Ten 7 (10.3% – 11.9%) or Surveillance Oz (9.4% – 9.8%).

On Wednesday, TV3’s re-run of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (3.2% – 4.0%) was most popular in the age demos after TV2’s The Big Bang Theory and Mom ended while TV1’s sublime This Town (1.8% – 4.0%) continues to struggle for the audience it deserves.

TV2 was tops earlier in the week with Shortland Street and My Kitchen Rules, and Monday’s Tabatha Takes Over and Tuesday’s Empire, although both post-MKR shows were challenged in a couple of the key demos.

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