When Netflix launched UK fan-favourite The Great British Bake Off in America under the name The Great British Baking Show, many fans were confused by the rebranding.
Though the name change happened in 2015, viewers still remain puzzled.
“What’s the point of giving it a different name?” one fan recently tweeted, echoing another’s confusion from 2020, in a post which read: “Everyone I know calls it The Great British Bake Off. Where did Baking Show come from?”
The answer is simple. It all comes down to copyright. In the US, the Minnesotan-based food company, Pillsbury, has the exclusive rights to the term “bake off”.
In 1949 the company began holding its traditional cooking contest, named the “Pillsbury Bake-Off”, which judges dishes made using Pillsbury dough.
The company’s spokesperson previously told Insider that “Pillsbury owns various trademark registrations for ‘bake off’ and ‘Pillsbury bake off,’” making those terms and variations unusable to any other US company as it relates to cooking competitions.
With that in mind, the UK show has had to adapt in ways to avoid breaking any copyright laws. When it comes to filming the hosts’ intros, they have to film separate versions. So in the UK release, “Welcome to The Great British Bake Off” has become “Welcome to the Great British Baking Show” in the US.
Similarly, when the victor is announced during the American finales, instead of the judge saying, “The winner of The Great British Bake Off is”, like they do in the UK version, it’s edited down to, “The winner is”.
Not only is the spoken language revised, but so is the visible text. While the cake platter trophies are printed with the show’s original name, before airing in America, the footage undergoes digital editing so that the trophy displays the US name.
The new season of The Great British Baking Show debuts on Netflix on 16 September, with new episodes airing every Friday.