MasterChef Australia judges quit show, claiming it wasn't about the money but their dates didn't align

A statement read that despite months of negotiation, Network 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to the MasterChef judges.

FP Staff July 23, 2019 13:02:53 IST
MasterChef Australia judges quit show, claiming it wasn't about the money but their dates didn't align

MasterChef Australia judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris have quit the reality cooking show. Network 10 confirmed about the withdrawal after the decision to upgrade changes in trio's contractual agreement proved unsuccessful.

The judges, each on salaries well over $1 million, walked after Network 10 refused to up their salaries by more than 40 percent, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Check out the official announcement here

“Despite months of negotiation, 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George," said Network 10 chief executive officer Paul Anderson in a statement.

"Across 11 sensational seasons, MasterChef Australia has established itself as one of the most popular and respected cooking television series around the world. For more than a decade, the iconic series has shaped and driven the Australian public’s passion for food and cooking, delivered iconic television moments, and made the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true," he said.

Matt took to Twitter to post a lengthy expressing gratitude to the Network and confirmed that Season 11 was their last.

George further explained on his social media post that they couldn't form Season 12 contract because of the schedule issues. He wrote, "We were close to signing a new contract for season 12 however the dates just didn’t align."

In his post, Gary wrote it was time to move on, ‘It was time to move on, have more free time to explore our own creativity’ It was never about the money and never will be about the money."

The news comes days after George was found to have had underpaid staff working for his Melbourne restaurant empire by nearly $7.8 million. The chef and his Made Establishment company was fined a “contrition payment” of $200,000 by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

George has apologised for his actions but that did not stop more than 22,000 people signing an online petition calling for him to be sacked from MasterChef. It was further revealed that the West Australian government has suspended its tourism campaign, featuring George Calombaris after the scandal.

“We’ve paused all of our work with George for now and we’re talking to his management about recouping some of our costs that we’ve paid him," Managing Director Brodie Carr said.

Meanwhile, the finale of MasterChef Australia season 11 is due to air on Tuesday night. The program, once with the highest-rating television show in Australia, will continue in 2020, with a new panel of judges, who are yet to be announced.

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