My Kitchen Rules New Zealand premiered on TV One last night to disappointing ratings, attracting just 375,010 viewers.
That's well under the 546,070 viewers that tuned into the season finale of the Australian version last week on TV2.
Television New Zealand originally planned to screen the local series on TV2, before moving it to TV One, which is also home to the popular local series Masterchef.
But TV One viewers seem unimpressed by the more youth-focused series, which is supposed to be less about the cooking and all about the drama.
In fact, the series lost nearly 40% of its Sunday lead in audience. 618,670 viewers tuned in for the current affairs show, before nearly 250,000 switched off when the cooking show began.
But TVNZ remains optimistic about the show's future, saying MKR Australia debuted to similar numbers.
"It's the kind of show that builds momentum," says a TVNZ spokesperson.
"Last night's opening episode of MKR NZ easily won its time slot across all demographics, and was the most watched show in its time zone.
"We also saw an increase in visitors to the vote-along app, compared to the first episode of the Australian show for which this app was also used."
On Twitter, the hashtag #mkrnz was trending last night, which TVNZ says shows key engagement around the show.
The reality show is tipped to be one of the biggest local series of the year and will go head-to-head with TV3's hit show The Block on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
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