By Jay Bobbin
He doesn’t cook, but Jeff Foxworthy thinks that’s what makes him an ideal host for The American Baking Competition.
CBS’ version of a popular British show premieres May 29, pitting food-making amateurs against one another in a contest featuring chefs Paul Hollywood (also of the U.K. version) and Marcela Valladolid as judges. Comedian and author Foxworthy’s role on the show may be the perfect one, though: He doesn’t have to form an opinion on any of the contenders, and he gets to sample all their food.
“I’m gonna be wearing maternity clothes after I finish this,” the amiable Foxworthy says with a knowing chuckle. “Let’s put it this way: When I do chin-ups now, I have options. You’re in this room where people are making their favorite home recipes, and I’m walking around with the judges and tasting everybody’s pies. And you’re gonna pay me for that? Yeah, this is a good gig.”
Foxworthy was offered it late in the program’s planning, and he recognizes his game-show-hosting track record — first on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, then on GSN’s continuing The American Bible Challenge — served as his “audition,” his only need being to see an episode of the original, The Great British Bake Off, before making his decision.
“My wife and I sat there and watched it together, and she said, ‘I would watch this every week.’ And I said, ‘OK. I want to do this.’ One week later, I was on the set.
“I know nothing about baking,” Foxworthy notes, “but on our show, you get firemen and teachers and lawyers … people from every walk of life. They just do this for fun, and all of a sudden, they’re in a room together with someone saying, ‘Make s’mores from scratch.’ I want to know their stories.”
The American Baking Competition airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET/PT on CBS beginning May 29.
Jeff Foxworthy, The American Baking Competition: © 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Credit: Quantrell Colbert