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Atlanta baker 'disappointed' after ABC pulls 'Great American Baking Show' over judge's alleged improprieties


Posted Thursday December 14, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

ABC's "The Great American Baking Show" was taken off the air less than week after its season three debut because one of the judges Johnny Iuzzini was accused of sexual misconduct.

“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,” a network spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”

Four former employees at Jean-Georges restaurant in New York accused Iuzzini of sexual harassment between 2009 and 2011, in a story in the Mic. “Many of the other allegations are inaccurate, others I do not recall and none were meant to hurt people,” he told the publication.

This year's cast included Atlantan Molly Brodak, who survived the first two rounds of elimination last week and was in the final eight. The winner will be announced in the future but none of the remaining episodes will air.

RELATED: A petition has been started to convince ABC to at least post the episodes online so the folks can see what the bakers did in the remaining episodes. 

In an interview today, Brodak said she was naturally disappointed by ABC's decision. She spent a month in England shooting the show and most of her efforts will never make the light of day. And since ABC isn't airing the episodes anyway, she told me tonight's show would have featured her best work to date and she was crowned Star Baker of the night.

"It's really heartbreaking," said Brodak, a writer who has been seriously baking since she moved to Atlanta in 2012. "You put in so much effort. The only reward of this show would have been watching it. There is no monetary prize, nothing beyond just seeing it and the results. That's being taken away from us. It was four weeks of your life and a lot of hard work. We did it for the love of doing it."

This situation, she said, "is really bizarre."

Notably, she said, Iuzzini is not a household name and none of the bakers knew who he was when he came on the show: "I'm glad he's being called out for what he did. On the other hand, this really punishes the bakers. It doesn't affect him that much."

She also said he was nothing but polite during taping. If the allegations happened while he was in production on the show, she'd understand ABC's need to pull the show. Instead, the network is erring on the side of caution in this post-Harvey Weinstein era where big names are being taken down almost every day. And this is considered a family show.

For those who caught the first two hours of season three last Thursday, Brodack was in the middle of the pack but clearly had an eye for design. She had attended art school and figured the reason she was cast was for her visually enticing desserts. Her favorite from last week was her swiss roll featuring white chocolate birds.

She was also proud of what she built in what was supposed to be tonight's episode:  a gingerbread chicken coop. (She raises chickens.). "It was really beautiful," she said, adding ruefully, "Too bad nobody will be able to see it."

RELATED: Writer Molly Brodack comes to terms with growing up in the shadow of her bank-robber dad

RELATED: Her memoir came out in 2016

RELATED: Last year's winner Amanda Faber hailed from Atlanta. 


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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.