Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Will Masterchef have Daryl for dinner?

hhis Quite possibly the biggest ratings battle for the year kicks off tonight when the long-awaited reunion of Hey Hey It’s Saturday goes up against the long-awaited Celebrity Masterchef.

When the Nine Network announced it was reuniting the team from Hey Hey It’s Saturday for two live-to-air specials, it was anticipated that the shows would be placed on Tuesday nights to try and dent the ratings of Seven’s hit show Packed To The Rafters and remove some of the shine off Ten’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation

Generation has since wound up its current series and, with Celebrity Masterchef headed for Wednesdays, Nine moved Hey Hey It’s Saturday’s reunion to Wednesday starting this week.

masterchef Celebrity Masterchef, featuring eighteen contestants including Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, swimmer Eamon Sullivan, The Biggest Loser’s Michelle Bridges, journalist and TV presenter George Negus, cricketer Simon Katich and comedian Josh Thomas, launches off the back of huge public support for the inaugural Masterchef Australia which was a huge ratings hit for Ten and the final recorded the highest ratings for any non-sports program since OZTAM records started in 2001.

Hey Hey It’s Saturday makes its return ten years after it was cancelled by the Nine Network.  The show’s reunion comes after a swell of support generated by a Facebook campaign and has garnered immense publicity since Nine announced the specials.  Host Daryl Somers will be joined by many of the show’s former team members including John Blackman, Red Symons, Molly Meldrum, Wilbur Wilde, Jo-Beth Taylor, Denise Drysdale, Livinia Nixon, Russell Gilbert and Plukka Duck.

Somers’ long-running offsider Ossie Ostrich will appear in the second reunion special next week.

Jacki MacDonald, part of the Hey Hey team for around ten years, is keeping a lower profile these days and has not been reported to be involved in the reunions.

If Hey Hey It’s Saturday can sustain popular support over its two reunion specials it may trigger negotiations for an ongoing series return.

Both shows have a huge curiosity factor behind them – Hey Hey’s return will be loaded with nostalgic charm and Celebrity Masterchef marks a return of this year’s most successful and most talked-about program format – so it is too hard to make the call as to which will win the battle between the 7.30pm and 8.30pm hour when both shows goes head-to-head.

Celebrity Masterchef.  Starts Wednesday 30 September (Tonight) 7.30pm, Ten/Southern Cross Ten.
Hey Hey It’s Saturday The Reunion.  Wednesday 30 September and 7 October, 7.30pm (and repeated Saturday 3 October and 10 October, 9.30pm), Nine/WIN/NBN.

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