MasterChef Australia

5:15pm Monday, July 19 on TV One

The MasterChef Australia judges are back to put Australian amateur chefs through their paces in one of television’s toughest challenges (tonight at 5pm on TV ONE).

Chef Gary Mehigan, owner of acclaimed Melbourne restaurants, Fenix and Maribyrnong Boathouse, joins 31-year-old restaurateur George Calombaris, owner of three Melbourne restaurants and one in Greece, together with internationally acclaimed and revered food critic Matt Preston to judge the hopeful chefs.

In the second series of MasterChef Australia, the challenges will be bigger, the expectations higher and the competition more intense. From testing challenges aboard a cruise ship, cooking off against world-renowned chefs, to tasks that will test their cooking creativity, this season’s batch of contestants will have to prove that they can handle the heat.

They will also be given the opportunity to learn from some of the best. For Mehigan, these contestants aren’t just vying for the coveted MasterChef title. They are his apprentices and he is their mentor. “I love teaching people stuff,” he says. “I want them to cook good food. You deliver the bad news first then give them the nice news afterwards. I never finish anything on a bad note.”

Fellow chef Calombaris agrees that being able to inspire the contestants gives him a kick. He also sees another positive effect from series that pulled in over four million viewers for the finale in Australia.

“It’s getting a generation of kids to eat better, understand about food better, and the only reason why I’ve worked that out is I have four nieces and nephews and I’ve been to all their schools. You go there and you hear kids talk about food.”

MasterChef Australia 2010 begins with the top 50 contestants cooking a barbeque dish of their own choosing. The ten contestants who cook the dishes the judges like the least have to face an elimination round.

Guest judge, cookbook author Donna Hay judges the contestants as they then have to recreate her special pavlova recipe, with the five best pavlovas earning their cooks a place in the next round; but the other five contestants will be sent home.

True Blood renewed for fourth season

Vampire series True Blood has been renewed for a fourth season by HBO following a strong start to the third in the US. The new season will kick-off next year in th US.

Phil Keoghan’s new race

Kiwi Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan is set to host a new race series profiling the Velux 5 Ocean race. The yachting competition, which sees skippers attempt to sail their racing yachts around the world, will be filmed and packaged in a reality/documentary format.

Charice does join Glee

Rumours a few weeks ago suggested teen pop star Charice was about to join Glee and as it turns out they were true. The Filipina singer has landed a recurring role on the series as a foreign exchange student who is set to rival Rachel’s talent.

Potter actress on Gossip Girl

Harry Potter actress Clemence Poesy has signed on to appear in the next season of Gossip Girl. The French actress, who feature din the movies as Fleur Delacour, will feature in several episodes of the upcoming Gossip Girl season which is due to start filming in Paris and New York next month.

Brand lands Simpsons role

Russell Brand has confirmed he has lined up a cameo appearance in The Simpsons. The actor and comedian said his ideal plotline would be where he has “ a cartoon relapse with Barney and Homer and get smashed out of [his] mind with them.”

MasterChef getting nasty

The MasterChef Australia competition is getting nasty with fans of the show unleashing their anger online at sites such as Facebook where contestants are copping vicious abuse and threats of violence. One contestant has a Facebook page against her which boasts around 1000 members.

X Factor or World Cup?

English audiences are being asked to choose X Factor over the World Cup with the auditions for the talent show taking place at the same time as England take on Slovenia in their final group game. Fans are being asked to “choose Simon [Cowell] over our boys in South Africa” despite the producers saying there will be regular updates of the game during the live show.”

Tina Fey honoured

Comedian and 30 Rock star Tiny Fey has been selected to receive the Mark Twain prize for American Humour. Fey, whose impressions of Sarah Palin were a worldwide hit on Saturday Night Live, has been praised for earning “legions of fans for her quick, unapologetic wit and social commentary.” In response, Fey says she is “truly thrilled” to receive the award and assumed “Betty White was disqualified for steroid use.”

Ghost Whisperer to be saved?

Recently axed Ghost Whisperer may be salvaged from the scrap heap by American network ABC says series regular Jamie Kennedy. Earlier in the month, CBS called and end to the series but rival network ABC has shown interest in reviving it with Kennedy saying “They are talking about it, so that’s cool,” he said. “We haven’t exactly gone into the light, we haven’t crossed over, but we’ve got some life.”

Madonna for American Idol?

Pop star Madonna is reportedly being lined up to replace Simon Cowell on the next season of American Idol. The 51-year-old is at the top of the wish-list for execs with a source saying “Everyone agrees Madge would be great and they want her as a full-time judge. But if that fails they’d at least like her as a mentor.”

MasterChef favouritism

MasterChef Australia is being forced to defend itself over allegations of favouritism. The competition has been dubbed a ‘one-horse race’ after the last four contestants all tipped one chef to win, leading many to say the show’s judges Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan are bias towards certain contestants. Channel Nine has hit back, saying “They [the contestants] all make progress based on their cooking ability.”

Paula Abdul on Idol finale?

The latest news from American Idol suggests ex-judge Paula Abdul is set to make an appearance on the show’s finale. The highly anticipated three-hour grand final between Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox is to be attended by the likes of Christina Aguilera and Janet Jackson as well as a number of mystery guests.

New Glee cast member

Glee will reportedly boast a new major cast member next season with news that Philippines pop-star Charice Pempengco is set to join the celebrated show. The 18-year-old singer, who rose to fame through Youtube, recently became the first Asian to break into the Top 10 of the Billboard album chart.

Sesame Street revival

Children’s classic Sesame Street is reporting a 60 percent increase in viewership in the US. The show, which has run for more than four decades, is still managing to rate highly despite the onset of 24-hour children’s entertainment channels and is boasting its highest audiences since 2007.

Teen Wolf for MTV

MTV has picked up a new series based on the 1980s movie Teen Wolf. The network has ordered 12 episodes of the revamped series which is described as being less comedic than the Michael J. Fox starrer was. Tyler Posey will lead a rookie cast in the series which will join the US remake of Skins on the network’s new line-up.

Lost simulcast

UK’s Sky1 network is going to extraordinary lengths to air the Lost finale episode before internet pirates get a hold of it. The network is set to screen the finale at 5am on Monday 24 May, which means it will run simultaneously with the ABC broadcast in the US. They join Italy, Spain, Portugal, Israel, Turkey and Canada in simultaneously broadcasting.

Emmy approval for Lost

The upcoming super-sized finale of Lost has been granted a special entry into the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards should ABC want to submit the show for awards consideration. Whereas previously only shows that ran for two hours were allowed to be up for consideration, the Awards has allowed the mammoth two-and-a-half hour finale special approval.

Spice Girl’s new show

Ex Spice Girl Melanie Brown has scored herself a new reality show that will focus on her life as she juggles her musical career and motherhood. “The Mel B Project” will run for 10 episodes and is described as non-scripted. It premieres in September.

Curb moving to NYC

Larry David is moving his Curb Your Enthusiasm series from LA to New York. Whereas location is not an issue for many shows, Curb fans are worried the move will affect the comedy series in that Larry’s neurotic oddball character, who stood out in laid-back California, may appear normal in New York.

MasterChef debacle

Supermarket giant Coles has been left red-faced across the ditch after the latest episode of MasterChef Australia where two contestants had to rethink their dishes due to the pastry they bought from the supermarket was discovered to be past its use-by date. Worse still is the fact Coles is a major sponsor of the hit series.

Christine creator slams axing

The creator of axed sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine has slammed the show’s cancellation, saying the CBS decision was sexist. “As far as what happened at CBS, we’ve suffered from a serious lack of support from them since the beginning,” Kari Lizer said. “I hate to say it, but I’m afraid they don’t care much for the female-of-a-certain-age point of view over there.”

Survivor heading to Nicaragua

Emmy-winning series Survivor will head to Nicaragua for the next two seasons after spending the last two in Samoa. Shooting on the granddaddy of all reality shows will take place on the island of San Juan del Sur where the local terrain consists of volcanoes and ferocious wildlife.

FlashForward cancelled

The axe has fallen on drama series FlashForward after only one season with ABC cancelling the show for good. Waning interest in the US is to blame for the cancellation as the show has performed strongly in international markets. Word is the first season finale will leave a lot unexplained.

Reality show for Courtney Love

Courtney Love has reportedly signed on for a new TV show which will focus on her life and music. Despite the fact the Hole singer has slammed other celebrities for turning their private lives into reality shows, Love says she has “caved” because she was bored and couldn’t get hold of the self-help books she wanted.

Doctor Who on stage

BBC series Doctor Who is set to appear live on stage in the UK with a new theatre production of the celebrated show set to tour the country. However the new Doctor (Matt Smith) and his assistant (Karen Gillan) will not be appearing on the in the flesh, but the production will include flashy pyrotechnics and special effects.

Criminal Minds spin-off

American network CBS has picked up the new Criminal Minds spin-off series in which Forest Whitaker will star. The actor featured in an episode of the original show last month in the States to test the waters and will take on leading man duties in the spin-off series.

MasterChef judge wins award

MasterChef Australia judge Matt Preston has scored himself an award he probably doesn’t want from the Australian public. The TV food critic has picked up the annual ‘W**ker of the Year’ award from Ralph magazine due to his food snobbery. The magazine’s editor explains the choice: “Have you heard the way the guy talks about food? I think the guy needs to chill out and eat some cheese on toast once in a while.”

Bret Michaels new series

Reality star Bret Michaels has a new series ready to drop in the US called Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It. The docu-series will give viewers an insight into the rockers home life when he’s not on tour with his band and when he’s not shooting his various reality shows.

Hawaii Five-0 reboot

A reboot of classic TV series Hawaii Five-0 is in production at American network CBS. The original show, which ran for 12 seasons between 1968 and 1980, centred on a fictional Hawaiian police force and made a star out of leading man Jack Lord. The rebooted series will feature Alex O’Loughlin and Lost’s Daniel Dae-Kim.

The Bachelor video game

Reality show The Bachelor is releasing a video game based on the series this coming June. Exclusively for Wii and DS, the game will allow players to compete against other characters for the love of the Bachelor or Bachelorette over several “episodes”. Real life contestants Jason Mesnick, Trista Sutter, Jillian Harris and Andy Baldwin will all voice versions of themselves in the game.

Whiskey brand unimpressed by Family Guy

Whiskey brand Glenfiddich are reportedly unhappy with the creators of Family Guy for mentioning the name of their brand in a recent episode. The episode featured Brian and Stewie locked in a bank vault with the bottle of whiskey and a gun. The pair polish off the bottle before Brian begins to talk about suicide. It is believed the company is unhappy with the associations of its brand with underage drinking and suicide.

More trouble for Terry Serepisos?

The winner of the charity auction featured on the season finale of The Apprentice tonight has not received her prize despite it being months after the auction took place. Leanne Masters feels “ripped off” after winning the auction for three Wellington Phoenix players to come to her home and teach football skills to children and having to wait months to receive the prize.

Heroes cast confident of another series

Cast members from drama series Heroes are confident the show will continue for another series. Elisabeth Rohm, who plays Lauren Gilmore, believes the show will be renewed by its US network NBC in order to allow the story to be wrapped up. Nothing has been confirmed as yet but the actress says the cast are confident they will still produce another season.

MasterChef judge looking at spin-off

MasterChef Australia judge Matt Preston has pitched an idea to Australian network Ten for a new show involving himself. Food critic Preston, who guest judged on our own MasterChef New Zealand recently, won a Logie Award this year for Most Popular New Talent and is looking to cash in on his new found popularity with his very own show. There is no word yet on the details of the show.

Salvatore to return to Mad Men?

Mad Men Star Bryan Batt is unsure as to whether he will return to the hit show. Batt’s Salvatore Romano was fired from the agency in the third season and when asked whether his character will be back, Batt simply says “that’s the million dollar question.”

Posh Spice lined up for Glee

The producers of Glee are reportedly lining up Victoria Beckham for a role on the show. A source has said that due to the success of the Madonna and Lady Gaga themed episodes screened recently in the US, the producers feel that Posh Spice would be hugely popular on the show. They also believe that the fact she is also a gay icon would go down a treat.

Underbelly scenes “not glamorous”

Firass Dirani, the actor who stars in the latest season of Underbelly: The Golden Mile, has said that filming specific parts of the hit crime show are definitely “not glamorous”. Dirani, who plays Sydney nightclub owner John Ibrahim, has commented recently on the sex scenes he films, saying it’s not normal to be in that position with six guys standing around with cameras pointed at him.

More Chuck hinted 

The President of NBC has hinted at the possibility of Chuck returning for another season. The show has a loyal fan base but the network have been unsure as to whether to produce more. Chuck is the highest performing Monday show in the US so that bodes well for the future of the series.

Barbara Walters getting heart op

US television personality Barbara Walters is set to undergo heart surgery later this week. 80-year-old Walters, who became the first female co-anchor on a US network more than 30 years ago, will have the surgery to replace a heart valve. She told viewers recently on her show The View that she should return to television in September.

Army Wives spin-off a go

A spin-off of drama series Army Wives is in the works with writers looking to focus on the character of Pamela Moran. The original series, which is currently in its fourth season in the US, still rates highly with its target 18-49 female demographic. Army Wives’ production company Lifetime posted a thread on its message boards last year asking fans to vote on which character should receive their own show and Pamela and bartender Roxy topped the list.

7:30pm Friday, November 27 on TV One

MasterChef Australia will crown their first winner in tonight’s two-hour finale on TV ONE, at 7.30pm. The final two contestants will battle it out in an action-packed three-rounds – and will be joined by all of the contestants previously eliminated.

Round one is a taste test, round two an invention test and round three a pressure test, with each contestant scoring points based on the skills they have learnt throughout the series.

The pair will not only need to impress MasterChef’s three-person judging panel – George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston – but guest judges will also be giving them a helping hand.

With no prior professional cooking experience, these foodies have come a long way and have serious goals they want to fulfill. But who will take home the title?

Missed an episode of MasterChef Australia – full episodes are available online. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.

4:55pm Monday, August 31 on TV One

Hosted by Sarah Wilson, MasterChef Australia (tonight at 4.55pm on TV ONE) gives budding chefs the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop their cooking skills, to be mentored by the best, and ultimately make a change in their lives. Signing up as MasterChef’s three-person judging panel are two of Australia’s most respected chefs and restaurateurs Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, plus one of the world’s most acclaimed food critics Matt Preston.

Thousands of applications flooded in from across Australia: students; mums; professional sportsmen; solicitors; nurses; and cleaners, all applied. Young and old, each came prepared with raw talent and enthusiasm to leave their old life behind and enter the kitchen with one driving aim: to be Australia’s first ever MasterChef.

From high octane challenges at Sydney’s famous Fish Markets, to time-pressure challenges with mystery boxes of food, surprise encounters with celebrity chefs, to tasks that will test their creativity and nerve, the MasterChef Australia contestants will be put through their paces.

With no prior professional cooking experience, these budding foodies have serious goals they want to fulfil. Their desired end results all differ – whether it is running a Michelin-star restaurant, opening a small organic café in the hills of Adelaide; creating a catering business in Newcastle; or opening a flagship restaurant in their home town utilising local produce, these contestants’ dreams are on the path to becoming a reality.