MKR ratings plummet as Seven struggles with new format
It has been a shocking start to the year for Channel 7, with My Kitchen Rules a dead duck even before the official ratings kick in for 2020.
The first four episodes of the reality cooking show struggled to attract half of last year's numbers, with Tuesday night's show watched by just 402,000 viewers across the five city metro markets compared to 789,000 for the same episode last year.
Last night, MKR was the 10th most watched show of Sunday evening, well behind reality TV rivals MAFS and Dancing With The Stars.
Married Aty First Sight last night attracted 1.091 million viewers across the five city metro markets as the most watched show of Sunday with the season premiere of Dancing With The Stasr at 593,000.
Further down, My Kitchen Rules scored 476,000 viewers.
Seven executives are understood to be panicking because this week marks the official start to the Australian TV ratings year.
"The collapse of MKR is a disaster for Seven," one industry insider noted.
"Seven enters the start of the official TV ratings year with its program schedule in tatters.
"Its biggest program is down 40 per cent, the Big Bash League ratings were very weak and the numbers for the new season of First Dates are terrible."
The 11th season of the cooking show received an overhaul, renamed MKR: The Rivals and seeing famous faces from previous seasons returning to compete against diehard fans.
The first episode aired last Sunday night (Feb 2) to an audience of 498,000, compared to 819,000 for last year's launch. It was smashed by the Australian Open Men's Final on Nine which attracted 1.52 million viewers. More than 884,000 tuned in to Ten for the final episode of I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
On Monday night, with the tennis over, MKR was walloped by Nine's season debut of Married At First Sight with 1.15 million viewers across the metro city markets compared to 517,000 on the Seven show.
The new season of Australian Survivor premiered on Ten that night to 624,000 viewers.
Another industry source said the changes to MKR had killed the former ratings juggernaut.
"MKR was meant to run for about three months but viewers have abandoned it in droves over the first four episodes. There's no way Seven can keep it in its schedule for that long, but it has nothing viable to replace it with. Cat video shows don't work like they used to."
But Seven network director of programming Angus Ross said the broadcaster would not be making any changes to its line-up.
"For over a decade, My Kitchen Rules has been serving up great entertainment programming, and this year we have refreshed it with MKR: The Rivals," Mr Ross said. "As with any big change to an established format, it takes time for people to adapt."
Seven has, however, had some big wins in the breakfast and news markets with Karl Stefanovic's return to Today on Nine failing to make any impact on ratings. Sunrise remains on top.
Seven News on Thursday night was the most watched program in the five city metro markets with 996,000 viewers, ahead of Married At First Sight with 992,000.