The Great Food Race eaten alive by Masterchef

Left and below: Waikato couple Libby Buchanan and Elliot Jones won the Great Food Race in last night's live final (TV3 supplied)

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MediaWorks says it is comfortable with the performance of its new food format, The Great Food Race, despite lacklustre ratings.

The programme had been heralded by the broadcaster as an original cooking show format and managed to bring on board Countdown as a sponsor, which reduced its support for TVNZ’s Masterchef.

During the season, The Great Food Race had an average viewership in the 5+ age group of 169,700.

However, only 134,300 viewers tuned into last night’s grand finale.

This compares with TVNZ’s ONE, whose Masterchef last night raked in an average audience of 550,000 New Zealanders aged 5+.

TVNZ spokeswoman Georgie Hills says last’s night’s performance was good given the show on average attracts 500,000 viewers aged 5+ each episode.

MediaWorks spokeswoman Rachel Lorimer says The Great Food Race is a brand new format, and attracted a loyal audience.

Ms Lorimer dismissed online feedback that host Zoe Marshall had ruined the finale by pestering contestants while they were cooking, saying Ms Marshall’s performance was terrific.

Ms Lorimer says technical differences were related to the fact that the show was filmed live and had little time for corrections, unlike other episodes.

“Like the auction finale on the Block NZ, the final of the Great Food Race was filmed live, which is very unusual for a cooking show.

“We know TV3 viewers love the excitement and drama of live TV where anything can happen.”

Meanwhile, TVNZ is preparing to air My Kitchen Rules Australia as well as locally produced My Kitchen Rules New Zealand.

Ms Hills says no sponsors have been announced for Masterchef NZ but the channel has picked to Auckland chefs Ben Bayly and Gareth Stewart as judges.

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