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Mary Berry's on this one too!
In case you're having withdrawal symptoms since the final competition episodes of the The Great British Bake Off aired on the BBC last month (don't worry, they weren't the last-ever with the original cast—a pre-filmed Christmas special will air on the network in December), mark your calendars for tomorrow night, when the first full season of The Great American Baking Show will premiere with a two-hour special on ABC at 9 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. CT.
After a successful four-episode mini-series that aired on ABC last winter, the network ordered more—with celebrity hosts Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Ian Gomez (Cougar Town), pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini, and original GBBO queen-of-everything Mary Berry at the helm. If it all sounds a little familiar, you're not wrong—CBS took a stab at replicating the hit British baking competition show in 2013, and audiences didn't stick. This time around, however, ABC's got a new tactic.
"It's almost the same show as they do in England," Iuzzini told EW before the first series aired last year. "You know, when they did it here a couple years ago [on CBS], they changed the format a little bit—they were thinking they might need to Americanize it a little bit. But when it came to ABC, they realized that the British did it right the first time. Why change something that works so well?"
The four-episode season that aired on ABC between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2015 closely followed the British format: beginning with cookie week before progressing to cakes, pastries, and the finals. This time around, the network will cast 10 amateur bakers in a competition comprising a total of 24 challenges spread out over eight weeks. According to a report in the Independent, the first episode will include a Signature Bake challenge that "will see competitors tasked with making bundt cake inspired by winter flavors, followed by an apple almond cake Technical Challenge." The first episode will cap off with a Showstopper Bake that's perfectly in tune with this time of year: a multi-tiered holiday-themed cake.