I loved when Mikey last season took their ridiculous vending food challenge and made a mockery of it, its pretty much what we all think of their pointless challenges.
I do think they purposely set the budgets so low and the challenges almost impossible to complete so they CAN be mean to them at judges table. Again, its all designed to make them fail.
I would like to see them use some of the parts that are successful on other cooking shows and put a TC twist to them to make it their own. Ramsey and his quality control and missing items (fish didn't get delivered... how do you improvise? Or its ruined). Iron Chef and their mystery item that you have to cook against other chefs and within a time limit. That's the sort of stuff we are all into, how many of us love the Food Network Challenges? In order to salvage this show, they need to look around and see what people love about the other shows and try to incorporate those elements into TC but with a different spin so its not just copying.