As loyal fans continue to mourn the end of The Great British Bake Off as they know it, dearly departed judge Mary Berry has reappeared — this time, on American television. Berry is serving as a judge on The Great American Baking Show, which premiered a couple weeks ago on ABC. But although the Great British Bake Off found a strong foothold with American audiences, its U.S. spinoff has been a major flop.
While more than 15 million people in the UK tuned in to watch the finale of the last Great British Bake Off season, only 4.6 million viewers tuned in for the December 1 premiere of the Great American Baking Show, the Telegraph reports; that’s despite the fact that the U.S. has five times as many people as the UK.
Many viewers seem largely unimpressed by the American version, which also features high-profile pastry chef (and former Top Chef: Just Desserts judge) Johnny Iuzzini, saying it lacks the British charm of the original:
The Great American Baking Show seems to be The Great British Bakeoff with people who can't bake. Things are bad enough. This was not needed.— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) December 6, 2016
The Great American Baking Show isn't nearly as good as the British original version. The cast is not as entertaining. I miss Paul with Mary.— De Ann Price (@butterflies1029) December 9, 2016
I love seeing Mary Berry on my screen, but the Great American Baking Show just doesn't grab me as much as the #GBBO.— Jana (@DelightfulDame) December 9, 2016
The Great American Baking Show isn't doing it for me, even with Mary Berry. The British version is better. Thx @mygpb for getting me hooked.— Kizzy (@KizzyKingston) December 9, 2016
This isn’t the first attempt at an American spinoff of Bake Off: CBS aired one season of The American Baking Competition back in 2013, followed by ABC’s The Great Holiday Baking Show in 2015. Though the latter also featured Berry as a judge, neither of them were very successful.
The Great British Bake Off shakeup is undoubtedly one of the greatest television tragedies of the year. The beloved UK competition series began to fall apart earlier this fall when the BBC lost broadcasting rights, followed by the hasty departures of beloved hosts Mel and Sue and judge Berry; only judge Paul Hollywood will follow the series to its new home on Channel 4.
Thankfully, UK audiences have plenty more Mary Berry to look forward to: She has a new show in the works for the BBC called Mary Berry's Secrets From Britain's Great Houses, and rumors have been swirling that she could be involved in a competing Bake Off-style series for the network.