Fox Announces 'Junior Masterchef' for the Fall: Will It Affect 'Top Chef Junior'?

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Gordon Ramsay

Fox has announced their TV schedule for fall 2013, and many cooking-show fans are curious to see Gordon Ramsay's latest reality competition series, "Junior Masterchef." A spinoff from the traditional "Masterchef" format, "Junior Masterchef" will feature competitors who are all between the ages of 8 and 13.

The announcement of "Junior Masterchef" could mean a bit of a schedule shake-up over at Bravo, the home of the competing cooking franchise "Top Chef." Way back in 2008, Bravo announced plans for "Top Chef Junior," an eight-episode series that would feature contestants between the ages of 13 and 16. To date, Bravo hasn't set an airdate for the series.

There's been no movement on "Top Chef Junior" for years, though Bravo hasn't officially announced plans to drop the idea. With "Junior Masterchef" on the way, the time could be right for Bravo to reignite interest in their aging "Top Chef" franchise with a kid-focused entry.

There are two ways that things are likely to shake out. One scenario sees "Junior Masterchef" being a total ratings flop. In that case, the "Top Chef Junior" concept might never see the light of day. On the other hand, if "Junior Masterchef" is a success with TV fans, Bravo might rush into production of "Top Chef Junior" to cash in on the trend.

In either scenario, it's almost certain that Bravo will see how audiences respond to "Junior Masterchef" before producing and debuting their pint-sized "Top Chef" spinoff for teens. That way, Bravo can learn from any mistakes the Ramsay-associated series might make.

While some TV fans and foodies argue that a "junior" edition of either show could be toxic for ratings (young chefs are inexperienced chefs, after all), there have been a number of suggestions for how "Top Chef Junior" could be made palatable to TV audiences. With celebrity judges or a scholarship-based approach, both "Top Chef Junior" and "Junior Masterchef" could become appointment viewing for TV fans who love to cook.

For "Top Chef" fans, one thing is abundantly clear. If they want to see "Top Chef Junior" finally make it on the air after years of development, they'd better tune in to see "Junior Masterchef" on Fox. If Bravo sees that TV fans like the concept, they'll be more motivated to strike while the iron is hot.

"Junior Masterchef" will air Friday nights at 8 PM on Fox.

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