When MasterChef's former judges were let go by Channel 10 last year after reportedly trying to negotiate a whopping 40% salary increase, viewers were left uncertain the former ratings juggernaut could be revamped to the roaring success that saw almost 4 million Australians tune into its season one finale.
But new judges Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen have done just that, with the show's 2020 ratings far surpassing the flailing final few seasons helmed by their predecessors; Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris.
Now, Woman's Day hears it could be a case of history repeating itself for Channel 10 with the new judges are banding together to demand a monster pay rise to guarantee their return next year!
"They are in absolute and complete control of negotiations, and they can be… look what they've managed to do!" dishes a well-placed TV insider.
"Breathing life into a show that most people assumed had run its course is no easy feat and they'll be able to push for bigger salaries and benefits going forward," explains the source.
With the judges rumoured to be taking home around $500,000 a year with Ten, the show's rampant popularity and critical acclaim could see bigger fees negotiated for future seasons.
Certainly, the show's 2020 instalment has been praised by fans and critics alike who say the new judges have brought an untouchable new flair.
From food writer Mel's breadth of knowledge, Jock's eccentric sense of humour and returning MasterChef star Andy's easy camaraderie with contestants, the new trio has certainly won viewers over.
They've been praised for turning around a tired format that had fans switching off in droves.
Last year's less than impressive ratings saw the show's launch episode pull in a lacklustre 715,000 viewers, way lower than this year.
Undoubtedly, the talented trio will need to play the cards right to ensure they don't rock the MasterChef boat too much when it comes to demanding more. The network famously axed the shows former judges after pay negotiations broke down at the conclusion of season 11.
One well-placed insider revealed at the time, that it was their efforts to try to save the embattled George's job that ultimately led to them leaving the show after 11 years – after Ten called their bluff and stopped the contract negotiations on the spot.
"TV bosses had known about George's wage theft accusations for a while," a MasterChef source says of the disgraced chef's Fair Work Commission scandal, which resulted in a $200,000 fine.
"He had gone to them early so they could get across it and get behind him once the court case started but they were worried this scandal would affect their ratings."
WATCH: The first MasterChef pressure test goes horribly wrong. Story continues below...