‘Candyland’: Kristin Chenoweth Is the ‘Perfect’ Host for an Otherwise Unremarkable Show

It’s getting awfully crowded in the world of reality TV food shows, but if there’s one thing the entertainment world knows how to do, it’s squeeze every drop out of a popular concept.

There was a time when The Food Network had the market for baking competitions more or less cornered, but these days competition from streaming platforms is fierce. The result is that The Food Network has to keep things fresh with new twists on old staples, and that’s where Candy Land comes in. 

The board game-themed baking contest would be unremarkable, but the selection of Kristin Chenoweth as host may just save it from obscurity in a sea of competitors. Fans are calling the host “perfect” for the job. 

Baking competitions have been increasingly popular

Kristin Chenoweth
Kristin Chenoweth | Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank

There are plenty of cooking competitions crowding out each other in the reality TV world, but baking competitions are a particularly popular variant. The Great British Baking Show has demonstrated that watching a group of contestants battle it out for the perfect crusty bread or delicious sweet has international appeal.

Options like Nailed It! have added in humor and the opportunity to watch everyday bakers participate — often with catastrophic results. 

The shows range from the serious to the silly, from the uber-competitive to the friendly, and from the professional to the amateur, but they all share an appreciation for baked goods and the decorations that make them stand out from the crowd.

The problem is that there aren’t that many ways left to bake a cake, and those shows trying to break into the arena with something new and fresh are having to get pretty creative with their premise. 

‘Candyland’ adds a board game theme to the competition

The Food Network, always looking to keep their edge in the reality food TV genre, premiered a new series called Candy Land in November 2020. As Food Network explained in announcing the new show, “we’re taking competition to a whole new level with our brand-new series Candy Land that’s inspired by the classic Hasbro children’s game.”

That’s right — the game gets both its name and its general premise from the children’s board game.

Contestants are welcomed to a set with gigantic versions of the classic game’s decor: “giant candy canes in Peppermint Forest, life-size gumdrops at Gumdrop Mountains, a real-life gingerbread house at Chocolate Mountain, enormous and luscious lollipops in Lollipop Woods, and lemons growing right off the vines in Lemon Lime Springs.” 

The challenges for each episode vary, but contestants move along the board facing different tasks as they compete to create unique sweets befitting the setting. 

Fans are impressed with host Kristin Chenoweth

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A Reddit thread dedicated to the new show put it succinctly with an opening post predicting that Candy Land would be “a train wreck.” There were plenty of criticisms of the show. One fan complained about too much focus on the drama between teams and not enough on baking cakes, saying it “feels like bad reality tv focusing on drama.” Another pointed out that the title was deceptive:

“My problem with the show is that it’s like every other CAKE/BAKING show. If you call it Candyland, it should be a competition about CANDY!!”

Despite these complaints, many were in agreement that the host, Kristin Chenoweth, was a saving grace for the series. “She’s bubbly, supportive [of] the contestants, cute, and her joy is infectious. She’s really a great antidote (for me) to the cursed year we’ve had,” one fan wrote. 

Another was quick to chime in with agreement: “I love her too! Her energy is perfect for this show!”