MasterChef, Kitchen Nightmares, Restaurant Revolution, Recipe to Riches: just a few of the reality TV cooking shows bombarding viewers in an attempt to satiate their never ending appetites for watching someone pour their heart and soul into a dish that evokes memories of their mum/grandma/homeland, only to have it savaged by a D-list celebrity chef.
Channel Nine’s latest attempt to hook viewers is Hotplate. Unfortunately, Hotplate has quickly got itself into hot water. Channel Seven, the producer of My Kitchen Rules, is suing Channel Nine in the Federal Court for copyright infringement because it says that Hotplate is a copycat of MKR. Seven is arguing that the format of MKR (which consists of the combination and series of incidents, plots, images and sounds) is original and that Hotplate is reproducing it.
There’s no doubt that the formats of MKR and Hotplate are similar. Each show has teams of two competing against other teams of two while being judged by two industry guys while the other contestants make catty comments. So what? All of these shows follow the same recipe for success: competition, judgement and victory. And that’s why we can’t get enough.
The basic idea around copyright is simple: you can’t copyright an idea and you can’t get copyright protection over something which isn’t original. So, even if Seven can show that all of the unoriginal reality TV elements combined make the format of MKR original, the real difficulty will be showing that Hotplate has copied more than just the standard reality TV show template.
So far, the Federal Court has denied Seven an urgent injunction to restrain Nine from broadcasting Hotplate. However, the case continues and we’re glued to our screens waiting to see if anyone will be sent home.
Meanwhile, Restaurant Revolution has tanked. Such a shame.