ABC Fires Judge, Pulls 'Great American Baking Show'

Dec 14, 2017

Will we ever know if Cincinnati's Jessie Salzbrun won ABC's "Great American Baking Show?"

ABC pulled the holiday baking competition Wednesday, after just one episode, and fired judge Johnny Iuzzini.

Iuzzini, a James Beard Award-winning pastry chef, had been accused of inappropriate behavior by four women last month in a story posted at Mic.com. "The unnamed women described being touched, licked and groped by Iuzzini without their permission during his time at the Manhattan restaurant Jean-Georges," The Wrap reported. 

Host Anthony "Spice" Adams and judges Johnny Iuzzini and Paul Hollywood observe Cincinnati's Jessie Deye Salzbrun on the show
Credit ABC Television

The network  pulled the show Wednesday night, according to Mic.com. (PBS also dropped distribution of the "Tavis Smiley Show" Wednesday after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by Smiley.)

ABC has not announced the decision on its press site, but an ABC spokesperson sent this statement to Mic.com:

"In light of allegations that recently came to our attention, ABC has ended its relationship with Johnny Iuzzini and will not be airing the remainder of 'The Great American Baking Show' episodes. ABC takes matters such as those described in the allegations very seriously and has come to the conclusion that they violate our standards of conduct."

"This season’s winner will be announced at a later date."

Jessie Deye Salzbrun
Credit ABC Television

In the premiere last week, Cincinnati's Jessie Deye Salzbrun won the first hour and was named "star baker." At the end of the second hour, judges eliminated Father Kyle Schnippel, pastor of St. John Neumann and Corpus Christi Catholic parishes.

Salzbrun, who earned a degree in molecular biology at University of Cincinnati after starting in design school, is product chief at Cincinnati's Family Tech start-up software company.

Iuzzini said her Fireplace Mocha Bourbon Swiss Roll stenciled with flames "looks great, gorgeous."

After failing to impress the judges in the second hour, Iuzzini said she was "close to the bottom" of the contestants. She ended the show ranked seventh of nine bakers with four one-hour episodes remaining. 

Iuzinni judged the TV competition with Paul Hollywood, a best-selling cookbook author. Ayesha Curry and Anthony "Spice" Adams hosted the show. It was filmed Iver Heath, England, where the hit  U.K. series "The Great British Bake Off" also is shot.

ABC will repeat the "Great Christmas Light Fight" tonight (9-11 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14) instead of the second "Great American Baking Show" episode.  A repeat of the "CMA Country Christmas" will air 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21.