MasterChef Judge Death Disrupts TVNZ 2’s Master Plan

TVNZ 2 programmers have yet to determine how they will replace one of their programming linchpins for 2023, MasterChef Australia, following the sudden death of judge Jock Zonfrillo.

The series was to have launched here on Sunday and anchor the next three nights.

But because Channel Ten in Australia isn’t airing the show this week, TVNZ 2 suddenly has a huge hole to fill from May 7-10 (and possibly beyond).

“We should have more news for you tomorrow regarding programming changes,” assistant programmer Sarah Rayner says.

The programming was part of a strategy that included this week’s Shortland Street facelift and next week’s season premieres of Britain’s Got Talent and Hunted.

The pre-emption also comes at a critical time, with Three priming viewers for its next big series, Traitors and Tracked.

Paul Henry will front Three’s version of the global reality hit while Tracked is an original commission that was announced yesterday.

Here’s the media release:


Strap yourselves in New Zealand, Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ, is excited to bring you one of the most daring survival adventure series we have ever seen.

Exclusive to Three and streaming first on ThreeNow in May, Tracked is the ultimate game of hide and seek, set in New Zealand’s most perilous and unforgiving landscapes.

Hosted by Hollywood hardman Vinnie Jones, Tracked follows eight teams of two as they navigate their way from the drop zone to the extraction point, fulfilling a mission brief whilst evading capture from an elite special forces tracking unit intent on hunting them down.

Introducing the teams who are game enough to take on the challenge:

Team Brown: Young hunters from Southland, NZ Gabe (20) & Riley (20)

Team Purple: American Fitness Friends, Megan (28) & Michelle (33)

Team Pink: British Father and Daughter duo, Neil (58) & Beth (27)

Team Yellow: Australian based parkour partners Danee (30) & Stephania (24)

Team Green: American obstacle course extraordinaires Corey (33) & Megan (34)

Team Blue: Free spirited Australian friends Ryland (27) & Rad (27)

Team Orange: Christchurch, NZ couple Simon (40) & Caroline (46)

Team Red: Best mates from Queenstown, NZ Regan (31,Ngāpuhi) & Regan (45, Ngāti Tūwharetoa)

The elite trackers on the ground, whose identities must remain anonymous as they are still in active service, are regarded as two of the best trackers in the world. They are guided by two world class military minds at base camp, Psychologist and military expert Dr Alia Bojilova and former Royal Marine Dave Kassapian.

Each of the eight teams enter the competition with different survival backgrounds, specialised skills and talents, but they all have one common goal. Don’t. Get. Caught. If the teams get caught…it’s game over. If they don’t make the extraction point in time…it’s game over.  And for the winning team, there’s a jackpot of $100,000.

Vicki Keogh Senior Director Production, ANZ says: “Tracked is the ultimate extreme adventure series and we’re incredibly proud to bring this original local format to life alongside the team at Great Southern Television.

“At Warner Bros. Discovery, we’re continually looking for ways to support New Zealand content on the world stage and Tracked is a great example, having already secured distribution across 13 territories, taking local content to audiences around the globe.”

Tracked is an original New Zealand format, created by Great Southern Television for Warner Bros. Discovery and made with the support of the NZ Film Commission’s Screen Production Grant.  The series will air on Three in May and will be available to stream first on ThreeNow.

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