Viewers could've been forgiven for believing that the food cooking format had reached its capacity on Kiwi TV with the addition The Great Food Race. But the networks beg to differ, and TVNZ just announced that it has acquired the rights from Endemol to produce a New Zealand version of My Kitchen Rules, the popular Australia show that enters its fifth season this year.
The deal was signed by Andrew Shaw, TVNZ’s general manager commissioning, production and acquisitions, and Kirsten Cargill, Endemol Worldwide Distribution’s sales director for Australia and New Zealand, and both parties will be hoping that the Kiwi version emulates the success of its Australian predecessor.
Since its inception in Australia, the show has dominated the ratings to become what a TVNZ release calls the "undisputed number one television series in the primetime slot."
In addition to enjoying an average channel share of 42% with viewers aged 14-49, the most recent series also attracted 4,27 million pairs of eyes to the grand final.
Although these statistics were recorded in the Australian market, John Kelly, the network programmer for TV2, pointed out that the show has been popular on this side of the ditch as well.
"New Zealanders just couldn’t get enough of My Kitchen Rules, with 2013 being the most watched season yet," he says. "For this reason, we are thrilled to be teaming with Endemol and Imagination to bring Kiwis their very own local version of MKR."
Megan Richards, TVNZ's corporate affairs spokesperson, says that the show will go into production in early April and it will air later in 2014. And this means that the broadcaster will drop two other shows in order to make room for My Kitchen Rules.
"We’ve chosen not to renew New Zealand's Got Talent and Mitre 10 Dream Home and are instead focusing our energy on the development of new multi-night format shows," says Richards.
She also added that she did not think that Kiwi television had become saturated with food format shows.
"TVNZ has a fantastic track record with cooking shows – MasterChef on TV ONE has been a winner for us too. Last year, we announced we’d be putting $1 million into local content this year and MKR New Zealand is in step with this – we already know viewers love the show and making it local makes it our own. [And] although MKR is a competition about food and cooking, and kiwis are undoubtedly very keen on their food, it’s the dynamic personalities of contestants put under high-pressure situations that provides the entertainment and talkability factor."