Mary Berry's BBC Show Could Launch Before Channel 4's Bake Off Debut
And the network could move to delay production on future seasons of GBBO.
Cakes are the new cutthroat. In the passive-aggressive (yet somehow still very polite and British) standoff between the BBC and Channel 4 over the latter's recent acquisition of The Great British Bake Off—a move that precipitated three of four hosts, Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc, and Sue Perkins, quitting the show—it looks like the BBC is angling to launch its new baking competition series before GBBO even debuts on the commercial network.
"It's a given that Mary is a priority for the BBC, as long as the sun shines," one source told the Guardian. "We feel no need to reiterate how much we love her and how important she is to the BBC. We are delighted that she has chosen to stay and the public are as well."
The paper reports that the BBC may move to block Channel 4's production on GBBO for a year after the BBC airs its final episode in the current season next month—which pegs the Channel 4 premiere to summer 2018, at the earliest.
"Yes, we could probably get a show out before Channel 4, if we chose to do so," the source said. "We are looking at lots of ideas, although we are not yet ready to make an announcement."
Rumors have swirled over the past few weeks as details of the baking show fallout have emerged the press. Reports last week had the BBC already scouting for a Paul Hollywood replacement for a yet-to-be-named new program and format. James Martin, alum of the network's super-successful Saturday Kitchen, has been named as a frontrunner. Hollywood, in the meantime, is the only one of the original four to decamp to Channel 4 in what has been rumored to be a multi-million-pound, three-year deal.