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Television across the pond has gone through some big changes thanks to massive budget cuts at the BBC, and one of those changes will see the wildly popular reality show The Great British Bake Off switch networks. The series will move to Channel 4, and hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc chose not to stay with the show on its new home. Now, C4 may have found the perfect person to step in as a new host.
Richard Ayoade of Nathan Barley and The IT Crowd is reportedly at the top of a very short list of candidates to join The Great British Bake Off when it makes the jump from BBC to Channel 4. Ayoade has Channel 4 to thank for the biggest roles of his career, and he currently hosts the C4 travel documentary series Travel Man. According to The Sun, C4 execs are hoping that his dry humor could be a good fit for the new era of The Great British Bake Off. He's proved to be a hit with C4 audiences and clearly knows how to handle hosting duties.
Of course, Richard Ayoade might not be an immediate hit with Great British Bake Off fans who are coming to Channel 4 from BBC. Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc were fixtures on the series for its first seven seasons, and it was their banter and commentary that provided a lot of the fun each week. Contestants couldn't always be counted on to bring the laughs, but Sue and Mel were always fun. Ayoade would have some big shoes to fill. Luckily for him, he wouldn't have to handle hosting duties by himself. Paul Hollywood will be staying on board for the move from BBC to C4, so longtime fans will still have a familiar face.
It came as a big surprise when news broke that BBC would be losing The Great British Bake Off. The show broke ratings records this summer, with the Season 7 premiere numbers peaking at 11.2 million viewers before settling into a 10.4 million average for the entire hour. For perspective, the Great British Bake Off peak is actually higher than the peak for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which only reached 11.1 million. Channel 4 simply outbid BBC for the rights to show, reaching a three-year deal for £75 million. BBC never had a chance due to its budget cuts.
Folks on the American side of the pond have been able to catch episodes of The Great British Bake Off on PBS; we'll have to wait and see if that changes once the show moves to Channel 4. We hope to know soon whether or not Richard Ayoade will be on board as host. Check out our fall TV schedule to see what you can catch on the small screen in the meantime.