The Great American Baking Show: How different is the US version of Bake Off?
Paul and Prue are not only The Great British Bake Off judges, but The Great American Baking Show too.
There have been a number of American versions of UK series, from the disastrous Inbetweeners to the beloved Office.
But perhaps one of the most unlikely adaptations of a UK TV show is The Great British Bake Off.
Set in a tent on an English country estate, with quintessentially British judges and an atmosphere the complete opposite of most American cooking shows, it’s hard to visualise a similar format being made across the pond.
And at first it seemed that American audiences would agree, with just one season of The American Baking Competition produced in 2013. However, there would be redemption in 2015 when The Great American Baking Show began airing on ABC.
If you’ve been curious about what an American Bake Off would be like, look no further. We have everything you need to know.
The Great American Baking Show judges
So who better to enlist than Dame Mary Berry herself? For the first two seasons of The Great American Baking Show, Berry was examining pies for soggy bottoms and gauging how “moist” the US bakers’ cakes were.
Once Berry left, Paul Hollywood stepped up as her replacement. He was no stranger to the US version of the tent, having also been a judge during the failed first series.
Their fellow judge was New York-based pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini. He was a co-judge for three series of the show but was accused of sexual harassment by four former employees resulting in the third season being pulled from air and Iuzzini being fired. Iuzzini denied the charges at the time, saying they were “simply untrue.”
Following the unaired episodes, Hollywood resumed judging, being joined by chef and restaurateur Sherry Yard for series four and five. And then, as of series 6, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are reunited on American television.
Who hosts the Great American Baking Show?
For the first two series, The Great American Baking show was hosted by then husband and wife duo, Nia Vardalos and Ian Gomez. Vardalos is a Canadian actress, director and producer best known for My Big Fat Greek Wedding while Gomez is known for his work on various comedy TV shows.
From season 3, TV personality and former American footballer Anthony Adams began hosting the show alongside cookbook author Ayesha Curry who hosted during the series which wasn’t .
However when the third series was pulled from the schedule Curry stepped back from the show, leaving space for Spice Girl Emma Bunton to host.
Bunton would host the fourth and fifth series alongside Adams, however when Prue Leith joined as a judge both were replaced by actor and comedian Zach Cherry and actress Ellie Kemper, who is best known for her roles in The Office (US) and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
What is the show like?
To begin with ABC released their equivalent of The Great British Bake Off as The Great Holiday Baking Show, first airing in November 2015.
There were only six contestants and the show took place across just four episodes, with each following the same structure as the British show.
In 2016 a second series, this time taking the name The Great American Baking Show, was released following a more similar structure to the original Bake Off with ten bakers competing.
However due to the time of year the show is broadcast the fourth and fifth series were named The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition, only the sixth series returning to the standard name as Hollywood and Leith resumed judging duties.
Is there a celebrity edition?
Yes, The Great American Baking Show: Celebrity Edition took place in 2022 featuring Liza Koshy, Mashawn Lynch, Nat Faxon, Chloe Fineman and Joel Kim Booster, with The Good Place actress D’Arcy Carden winning Star Baker.
Can you watch The Great American Baking Show in the UK?
Yes, you can stream The Great American Baking Show in the UK on The Roku Channel. It's worth watch even if just to appreciate how different the show feels despite many of the same elements.
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