September 8, 2016 5:27 pm

‘Great British Bake Off 2016’: Half of U.K. tuned in for show premiere

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The Great British Bake Off captured an average of 10.4 million viewers as it returned for a Season 7, which is a record opener for the show, reported BBC News.

The Great British Bake Off, also known as the GBBO, is the a baking battle where amateur bakers compete to be crowned Britain’s Best Baker.

The BBC reports that the episode was watched by 47.5 per cent of all television viewers in the United Kingdom, with a peak audience of 11.2 million.

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Amazingly, this means that it beat the most-watched moments of the Rio Olympics in the U.K., which peaked at 11.1 million viewers.

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Paul Hollywood, a judge on the show, said that GBBO was going “back to basics” this year, with critics praising its winning recipe. There were twelve new bakers entering the Bake Off tent on Wednesday, making drizzle cakes, Jaffa cakes and a genoise sponge.

GBBO‘s ratings status is very impressive, considering how far the show has come from the first season’s audience of barely 3 million.

The growth of the British series is exciting for frustrated American TV executives, though CBS showed little patience when it premiered the first U.S. attempt at adapting GBBO in 2013, which was promptly cancelled.

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ABC is the current U.S. rightsholder and is more optimistic, recently renewing the spin-off The Great Holiday Baking Show.

“We’re really hoping that it follows that same pattern,” says ABC reality chief Robert Mills. “Everyone thinks of the original as an overnight hit, but it grew slowly and surely. Now it’s a ratings monster.”

Holiday Baking Show aired in late 2015 and averaged roughly 5 million viewers. The stateside spin-off makes use of GBBO personality Mary Berry and pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini as judges, and counts couple Nia Vardalos and Ian Gomez as co-hosts.

“To be on the coattails of something that is really a true global phenomenon is so rare, so we’ll be using that in the marketing,” says Mills of the second season. “It pays to have patience. We saw that with Shark Tank, too. We didn’t make too many tweaks from the original, and the audience found it and it became a big hit for us. That’s what we think is going to happen here.”

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Netflix US has streaming rights to the GBBO series and PBS currently has first-run rights in the U.S. Around 13.4 million people tuned in to the last seasons of GBBO, making it the most-watched program in 2015, according to the BBC.

Last year’s opening episode was watched by 9.3 million viewers, peaking at 10 million.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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