Marco Pierre White with Jess Fox and Sam Frost.
Marco Pierre White with Jess Fox and Sam Frost. Channel 7

What went wrong with Hell’s Kitchen?

HELL'S Kitchen Australia couldn't break the one million viewer barrier last night in another sign that Channel 7 is struggling to find a runaway hit.

The Marco Pierre White-hosted celebrity cooking show averaged 817,000 across the five capital cities and was easily beaten by The Block (1.212 million).

The so-so result impacted on Seven's marquee mini-series Blue Murder: Killer Cop, with Richard Roxburgh, which averaged 717,000.

Hell's Kitchen got an absolute grilling on social media which suggests that its numbers could tumble further over coming nights. Seven has it scheduled to screen three nights a week.

The celebrity contestants of Hell's Kitchen Australia, from left, Willie Mason, Jess Fox, Gary 'Gaz' Beadle, Candice Warner, Issa Schultz, Debra Lawrance, Sam Frost, Lincoln Lewis, Pettifleur Berenger, David Oldfield and host Marco Pierre White, centre.
The celebrity contestants of Hell's Kitchen Australia, from left, Willie Mason, Jess Fox, Gary 'Gaz' Beadle, Candice Warner, Issa Schultz, Debra Lawrance, Sam Frost, Lincoln Lewis, Pettifleur Berenger, David Oldfield and host Marco Pierre White, centre. Channel 7

"f***ing rubbish", "it's an absolute bore" and "there goes 20 minutes I won't get back" summed up many viewers' reactions to the new reality show.

One of Hell's Kitchen's saving graces was that Australian Survivor, on Ten, is faring even worse. The Jonathan LaPaglia-hosted show averaged 606,000 viewers last night.

But the Hell's Kitchen launch was down 24 per cent compared to last year's Zumbo's Just Desserts which had the benefit of premiering straight after the Rio Olympics.

Seven has struggled to find a second cooking show to complement My Kitchen Rules. Conviction Kitchen and Restaurant Revolution, as well as Zumbo's Just Desserts, never got past a first season.

So what is wrong with Hell's Kitchen? Here's what we reckon.

1. Viewers don't buy a nasty Marco Pierre White. It is easy to imagine Gordon Ramsay, who presents the US version of Hell's Kitchen, as a hellfire host. But Aussies know Pierre White from his guest spots on MasterChef Australia and hosting MasterChef: The Professionals where he was firm but fair. It feels like he is playing a cartoon version of himself on Hell's Kitchen.

2. The concept is a bit of a cheat. Sorry, did we just hear the narrator say that some of the food is pre-prepared by the show's sous chefs? That's not on.

3. The launch episode was so slow. Discerning viewers would have switched off in the first 20 minutes. That is how long it took to get through the endless scenes of bewildered celebrities walking into the kitchen and saying hello to each other.

4. Who are these celebrities anyway? Let's face it - this isn't exactly an A-grade bunch of celebrities. Seven has put a lot of its promotional grunt behind Sam Frost because it knows the former Bachelorette is the best of a bad bunch. And is everyone truly sick and tired of David Oldfield by now?

5. Nothing is at stake. On MasterChef Australia the winner gets $250,000. But the winner of Hell's Kitchen gets a mere $50,000 for their favourite charity. That sort of figure just doesn't cut it in 2017. Contestants can win 20 times that much in a single episode of Hot Seat.

6. It is pretty obvious none of the celebrities can cook. Cook anything with eggs in 15 minutes. Sounds simple enough. Not for this lot.

News Corp Australia

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