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Marco Pierre White.

The TV networks are looking to lock in their ratings early with MasterChef: The Professionals reportedly set to launch three weeks before the start of the official ratings period.

Insider website TV Tonight reports Network Ten will launch its new-look show, featuring Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White and 18 professional chefs, on January 20.

In what might be seen as a risky move, Ten will put the show up against the Australian Open on the Seven Network.

Seven won't be launching its own hot-ticket cooking show, My Kitchen Rules, until after the tennis wraps up.

However, Ten may be offering an alternative to the summer sporting season for those more interested in vol-au-vents than volleys.