Mary Berry, everyone’s favorite British reality television judge, broke the world’s heart when she announced plans to leave The Great British Bake Off. American fans are in luck, because Berry makes her triumphant return to U.S. television this week. The Great American Baking Show, a Bake Off spin-off, premieres Thursday night on ABC.
This isn’t the first time Bake Off has inspired a stateside version. The American Baking Competition aired for one season on CBS in 2013, and The Great Holiday Baking Show, which boasted Berry as a judge, aired on ABC in 2015. Neither saw much success, but they both preceded the British original’s explosion in popularity among U.S. viewers.
Johnny Iuzzini, a James Beard award-winning pastry chef who’s made numerous television appearances, will join Berry as a judge on the new series. Wife-and-husband acting team Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Ian Gomez (Cougar Town) will host. A cast of 10 amateur bakers will attempt to navigate the competition’s many challenges. The first two installments will focus on cakes and cookies, respectively, and each episode will charge competitors to master a different discipline.
Bake Off fans in the United Kingdom who long for Berry’s judgement have to keep waiting. There are no plans to air The Great American Baking Show abroad. But, the charming confectionary expert does have a new show in the works for the BBC. And there are rumors she could be part of a competing Bake Off-style series for the network.
Bake Off as we know it met its demise when the BBC lost out to Channel 4 for broadcasting rights. First, iconic hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins revealed they were leaving, followed by Berry’s decision to bow out, citing network loyalty. Only judge Paul Hollywood will make the transition to C4.
The Great American Baking Show makes its debut Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET.
• The Great American Baking Show [ABC]
• Mel and Sue Leave the Great British Baking Show: What Does It All Mean? [E]
• RIP Great British Bake Off: Mary Berry Is Out [E]