Let’s face it, until it arrived on the scene, TV cooking programs appealed to a core audience, with most of them featuring “a nice host,” but one who resembled your aunty or uncle rather than a variety show anchor (Some mature readers of this manifest will possibly remember Margaret Fulton and Graham Kerr).
In Australia, the late Bernard King brought some fun and frivolity to the subject of cooking, but it wasn’t until the likes of Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and the Masterchef Series came along, that cooking became a mass entertainment subject rather than a niche interest for a few cooking diehards.
I highlight this metamorphosis because it is a classic example of how relatively simple it is to breathe life into subjects which many might label as being “ordinary.”
Masterchef has turned cooking into an extraordinary subject by giving cooking an entertainment twist and showcasing wannabe chefs in a dramatic and crescendo building “cook-off” race to the finish line!
By adding dramatic music, nice and nasty judges, exotic recipes and a wildly competitive environment, the TV producers have created a worldwide phenomenon which has blitzed TV ratings in just about every country it airs.
They’ve turned “ordinary” into “extraordinary.” And they’ve exploited a universally appealing theme of “cooking.”
A number of years ago when I was producing my “Dreams Can Come True” TV program, I got to know the CEO of Becker Entertainment at the time, namely Ian Hogg.
Ian has gone onto run numerous entertainment businesses since then and currently runs Fremantle Television, the makers of the Australian version of Masterchef.
I bumped into Ian at a function not long ago, and he reinforced the reasons for the magnificent success of the Masterchef series:
- Food is an appealing subject to just about everyone, no matter what age- so it’s a great “theme.”
- They had created dramatic “light and shade” around the art of cooking.
- They had created “magnetic drawcards” within the program’s design, so that viewers were “hooked” on watching every episode!
- By creating numerous ‘characters,’ viewers followed their favourites till the end.
Sorry for repeating myself, but you can see that the program’s producers have created a “wow” in terms of a significant major cash prize and title, then added dramatic effect by having contestants and judges with different demeanors, then also sprinkled exotic recipes into the mix – and created repetitive viewing by ensuring each episode finished with a cliff-hanger ending!