'MasterChef' Exodus: George Calombaris, Matt Preston And Gary Mehigan Speak Out
Following news that Masterchef's entire judging panel would not be returning next season, the trio has spoken out, thanking fans for their ongoing support.
Ahead of the nailbiting 'MasterChef' finale on Wednesday in which Larissa Takchi was crowned this season's winner, fans were left shocked after the bombshell announcement that George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan would be departing the reality series after 11 years on the judging panel.
Network 10 revealed that after unsuccessful contractual negotiations with the trio, they would be departing the network to make way for three brand new judges who will take the reigns from next season.
“Despite months of negotiation, 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George," said Network 10 chief executive officer Paul Anderson.
All three former judges have spoken out, thanking fans for their ongoing support over their 11-year stint on 'MasterChef', with George Calombaris thanking the contestants and teams for their tireless work over the years.
He also wished the next trio of judges "loads of success" before thanking his "brothers" Matt and Gary, adding, "I love you and thank you. Time to take a deep breath and be thankful".
Echoing George's sentiments in a post to Facebook, Gary Mehigan wrote:
"To explain: ‘It was time to move on, have more free time to explore our own creativity’ It was never about the money and never will be about the money. We couldn’t agree on the term of the new contract for 2020. Something we felt very strongly about".
Matt Preston also posted a final farewell over Facebook, telling fans he had "loved every single moment" of the show, however, they "were unable to agree to all terms for the new contract".
He continued, "We have enjoyed 11 wonderful years on MasterChef Australia with Network Ten, and I want to take this opportunity to thank Ten for this amazing opportunity and for Network Ten’s backing of this very special show."
He added that he "didn’t want to take any gloss off tonight’s well-deserved winner" and therefore would make no further comment.
It's not yet known who will replace the trio next season.
Image: Network 10