More Peo­ple in the U.K. Watched the Great Bri­tish Bake Off Pre­miere than the Olympics

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

When it comes to view­er­ship, the BBC’s Great Bri­tish Bake Off just keeps ris­ing like a loaf of bread. (Sorry.) Last year’s sea­son pre­miere hit a new record of 9.3 mil­lion view­ers, ac­cord­ing to Dead­line—and by the fi­nale, that num­ber had grown to 13.4 mil­lion. And now? The show has got­ten so big that its Sea­son 7 pre­miere (which aired on Wed­nes­day night) drew more eye­balls in the U.K. than the Rio Olympics did, even at the event’s peak.

Even the unini­ti­ated can prob­a­bly guess the show’s gen­eral for­mat: 12 home bak­ers con­coct all man­ner of tasty treats, in hopes of im­press­ing a panel of judges and tak­ing home an en­graved cake stand. Un­like most Amer­i­can re­al­ity shows, in­clud­ing Food Net­work’s slate of sta­dium cook­ing shows like Chopped and Cut­throat Kitchen, G.B.B.O. of­fers no cash prize—just the pres­tige of win­ning, pretty much. That, along with the show’s amus­ing hosts, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, sets the show apart. And what­ever keeps view­ers com­ing back, it’s clearly work­ing—con­sis­tently.

The Olympics did not fare as well for the Bri­tish broad­caster. Ac­cord­ing to Dead­line, the Games peaked at 11.1 mil­lion view­ers in the U.K., al­low­ing G.B.B.O. to beat that num­ber by just a hair with a peak of 11.2 mil­lion view­ers on Wed­nes­day night. And it seems al­most cer­tain, given how the bak­ing se­ries grew last cycle, that by its fi­nale, the gap could be much wider. Just goes to show you: ath­letes are im­pres­sive, but su­gar and spice and ev­ery­thing nice, and noth­ing to tri­fle with.

Ru­mours abound that the Brits want cake-bak­ing to be­come an Olympic sport.

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