The Seven Network plans to go all-out in 2020 to secure dominance in the lucrative free-to-air TV cooking program market as well as in the wider ratings race.
The network has signed former Network 10 MasterChef hosts Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan who were dumped earlier this year along with their problematic co-host George Calombaris.
A Seven Network spokesperson, Noah Nooideas, said the network planned to stick to a tried and true formula while injecting new elements to attract viewers and advertisers.
“Matt and Gary will join current My Kitchen Rules star Manu Feildel in a new cooking show to be called The Naked Chefs (main picture),” Mr Nooideas said.
“Admittedly it’s a shameless steal and variation of the title used by the BBC for the Jamie Oliver’s original cooking series screened here on the ABC two decades ago. But hey, that’s Australian commercial television for you. What can I say?
“It worked for Jamie. Viewers tuned in thinking this hot young blonde British chef might actually be naked. Of course it was obvious from the first few seconds of his show that he wasn’t and would never get his kit off.
“But we won’t disappoint our Aussie audience. Matt, Gary, and Manu will be in the buff for each and every episode.
“We know that cooking shows are often criticised as ‘food porn’ and all we’re doing is taking that to the next step.
“We know that sex sells and we’re sure people will want to see three chubby middle-aged guys wearing nothing, or maybe just a cravat in Matt’s case.
“We’re confident the concept will work and we’re already planning to have the stars of all our other big shows nude up when their new seasons start in 2020 — everyone from Kochie and Samantha on Sunrise, to the cast of Home and Away, and Better Homes & Gardens. Even all our newsreaders on Seven News.
“Our hosts and celebrities know their careers and livelihoods may depend on this bold new tactic so we’ve had little pushback from any of them, apart from the Sunrise Cash Cow,” Mr Noideas said.