A reality show is setting viewership records and receiving critical praise as it launches its seventh season on the U.K.’s BBC One. The show is “The Great British Bake Off,” which premiered Wednesday night.
“Watched by an average 10.4M viewers in the 8PM slot, it drew a 47.5 share,” Deadline.com reports. “The peak audience for the cooking competition that has risen to phenomenon status in the UK was 11.2M last night. That tops the network’s most-watched moments of the Rio Olympics, which peaked at 11.1M viewers.”
The report quotes the U.K. publication The Telegraph saying the show returned “in the nick of time to haul the nation out of its post-Olympic slump.”
Mary Berry, a cookbook author, and baker Paul Hollywood are judges on the show, which is hosted by Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. The 12 contestants compete for the coveted engraved cake plate.
“Each year brings more viewers to ‘Bake Off’; the Love Productions series set a record launch in 2015 with an average 9.3M viewers and a 43 share,” Deadline notes. “Last year’s finale became the most-watched television program of 2015 with 13.4M viewers.”
The show airs in the U.S. on PBS, where it has reportedly been picking up momentum. Deadline notes that both CBS and ABC have tried American variations on the format, with limited success.