HitFix

Interview: Graham Elliot previews the return of ‘MasterChef Junior’

“MasterChef Junior” returns this week in a higher profile home than FOX expected when the network announced its schedule in May. 

Originally announced for Fridays, “MasterChef Junior” will premiere in FOX's Tuesday 8 p.m. slot on November 4, a move the network hopes will boost the fortunes of struggling 9 p.m. comedies “New Girl” and “The Mindy Project.”

Yes, the new Tuesday home for “MasterChef Junior” speaks to the swift and decisive failure of “Utopia,” which was originally set for Tuesdays at 8, got pushed to Fridays and was finally cancelled over the weekend.

But it also shows a vote of confidence for “MasterChef Junior,” which delivered solid numbers on Fridays last fall and also generated some of the warmest reviews for any recent competition reality show. 

Speaking personally, I've been only an on-and-off “MasterChef” viewer in its summer installments for grown-ups, but I found “Juniors” a charming variation in a market glutted with interchangeable cooking shows.

In August, I sat down to Graham Elliot, who judges with Gordon Ramsay and Joe Bastianich on “MasterChef Junior.” We talked about his own culinary upbringing, the different tone that kids bring to the “MasterChef” format and a couple of the little things that still bother me about the show.

Check out the Q&A…

HitFix: It felt to me, and this may just be my own skewed perception, as though “MasterChef” is a show that has always done well and been reasonably well-received, but but with the “Juniors” season, people were saying even nicer things about it, that it took off in a different kind of way. Did it feel that way to you?

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