Joe Bastianich is poised to exit the “MasterChef” franchise after the upcoming third season of Fox’s “MasterChef Junior.”

The restaurateur and foodie entrepreneur is known for his blunt, often sharp-tongued assessments in his role as a “MasterChef” judge. He’s also a featured player on CNBC’s “Restaurant Startup,” which begins its second season in January.

Shine America, producer of “MasterChef” and “Restaurant Startup,” is in the process of finding a third judge to serve alongside Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot on the popular cooking competition series.

Fox turned to “MasterChef Junior” after its ambitious reality series “Utopia” bit the dust. The second season of “Junior” will end next month, with round three set to premiere on Jan. 6. Bastianich (pictured far right with Ramsay and Elliot) will leave the U.S. “MasterChef” menu at the end of that season.

Overseas, however, Bastianich will remain a judge on “MasterChef Italia.” He recently acquired an Italian production banner, Todos Contentos, and he produces a travelogue food series “On the Road” for Italy’s Sky Network.

He’s repped by CAA.