James Hibberd
August 17, 2011 AT 05:05 PM EDT

Tuesday’s two-hour MasterChef finale shot up in the ratings, delivering the show’s best number of the season.

MasterChef had 6.5 million viewers and a 2.6 preliminary adults 18-49 rating, up 30 percent from last year’s finale, with its second hour ranking as a series high. The cooking competition isn’t officially renewed yet, but with its casting announcements on the air and these finale numbers, you can bet on an eventual pickup.

This summer, MasterChef felt fresher and more compelling than the genre’s highest-rated show, Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen. The latter’s shooting-fish-in-barrels format of casting inept cooks for Ramsay to yell at seems tired.

Still, MasterChef‘s gain wasn’t quite enough to overtake NBC’s America’s Got Talent (10 million, 2.7). (Though that depends on whether you count MasterChef as a two-hour show that delivered a 2.6 rating or two one-hour shows, with a second hour that hit a 2.8.) Low-rated NBC lead-in It’s Worth What (4.1 million, 1.0) had viewers asking, “It’s Called What?” Meanwhile, viewers fled ABC’s Take the Money and Run (3.6 million, 1.4), down 22 percent from last week.

You May Like