As it turns out, MasterChef Singapore will not be aired on Mediacorp’s Channel 8 in Mandarin after all.
Instead, Mediacorp and global content investment company Motion Content Group confirmed in a press statement on April 2 that the show will be produced in English and is set to air on English-language Channel 5 later this year.
The MasterChef cooking competition format, which hails from the UK, features amateur cooks battling it out in a series of diverse challenges and has seen local spin-offs produced in over 40 countries.
When news broke this February that the Singapore edition would be broadcast exclusively on Channel 8, which is a Mandarin-language free-to-air TV channel, and applicants had to rate their fluency in Mandarin, many were left scratching their heads.
Many took to social media platforms to express their concerns that the move would alienate non-Chinese-speaking participants and viewers.
So why the turnaround?
Mediacorp clarified that the initial decision to air MasterChef Singapore on Channel 8 was because English rights to the show were not available at that point in time.
“However, following further negotiations, MasterChef Singapore will now air for Singapore viewers on Channel 5 in English and reach a more diverse audience,” said the statement.
The rights deal was negotiated by Dutch-based media company Endemol Shine Group, Endemol Shine International and Motion Content Group, Asia Pacific.
The Singapore edition will be produced by Beach House Pictures and does not have an official premiere date yet.
Judges and key sponsors will also be announced at a later date, added the statement.
In addition to the shift in language medium and channel, MasterChef Singapore’s nationwide casting call for contestants – open since February – will extend its deadline to midnight on Apr 6.
Mr Steven Murphy, Motion Content Group’s managing director for Asia Pacific, said: “Since the casting call went out in February, we have been impressed by the high levels of interest and passion from the public.”
“We look forward to meeting the best amateur chefs Singapore has to offer.”