Mediaworks leaks reveal cuts and changes at TV3

Masterchef New Zealand judges Josh Emett, Al Brown and Mark Wallbank.
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Masterchef New Zealand judges Josh Emett, Al Brown and Mark Wallbank.

An axe is being brought down on MasterChef, but current affairs shows 3D and 60 Minutes on Prime could also face the chop. 

TV3 confirmed it has axed reality shows X Factor and MasterChef from its line-up for 2016 due to poor ratings.News has also taken a hit, with the future of current affairs show 3D - hosted by Samantha Hayes - also up in the air.  The TV3 show was bumped from its Sunday evening 6.30pm timeslot and moved to Monday evenings in September but a source said staff were shocked to see the show was missing from a big wheel picture showcasing the network's line-up for 2016. Mediaworks' director of news Mark Jennings did not return calls last night. 

The network has had a tough year with declining ratings following the axing of the long running Campbell Live in May. A leaked Mediaworks email revealed the newsroom will undergo a major rebranding. It's new integrated newsroom will be renamed the Newshub.

In the email to staff on Friday Mediaworks boss Mark Weldon said whilst entertainment had performed strongly, news had been less successful.

"The numbers do not lie, and there have been performance issues in both TV and in digital." A rebranded "Newshub" would cover the company's television, radio and online presence. This involved a new set for the 3News, but it was not known whether this included a name change.  

Ratings seem to be the biggest driver of the changes at Mediaworks. Group content director Andrew Szusterman said MasterChef hadn't performed as well as expected. But while our love affair with cooking shows was waning, our appetite for houses and love continued. Grand Designs, The Block and The Bachelor would all return in 2016.

Szusterman said The Bachelor remained its best video-on-demand hit, with over one million streams so far.

Mediaworks would also introduce a local version of the gameshow Family Feud hosted by Dai Henwood. Westside, the prequel to Outrageous Fortune – Jono and Ben, Seven Days and its spin off, Seven Days of Sport would all return in 2016.

Smoke Music manager Mark de Jong, who has a management contract with the X Factor winning artists, said he was not surprised the show had been culled from next year's line-up.

"Hopefully we get another series in 2017."

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American comedy Goldbergs, which has Campbell Live's old spot on Friday at 7pm, was also on the chopping block.

The show's ratings had been patchy, Szusterman said.

He refused to comment on what might replace the show.

 - Sunday Star Times

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