Cake Boss is an American reality television series, airing on the cable television networkTLC. The show follows the operations of Carlo's Bakery, an Italian American family-owned business in Hoboken, New Jersey owned and operated by siblings Buddy Valastro (to whom the series' title refers), Lisa Valastro, Maddalena Castano, Grace Faugno and Mary Sciarrone. The show focuses on how they make their cakes, and the interpersonal relationships among the various family members and other employees who work at the shop.
The show premiered on April 19, 2009, and four additional seasons followed, premiering October 26, 2009, May 31, 2010 (returning in October), January 31, 2011 (returning in September), and May 28, 2012, respectively. The show's sixth season debuted on Monday May 27, 2013 at 9PM ET, the second part of the sixth season aired on December 30, 2013.
Bartolo "Buddy" Valastro, Jr. (born March 3, 1977) – The star of the show, who has worked at the bakery since age 17 in 1994. He is the only son and the youngest child of Bartolo "Buddy" Sr. and Mary Valastro. He grew up in Little Ferry, New Jersey. He is married to Elisabetta "Lisa" Valastro (née Belgiovine) with whom he now has four children: Sofia, Bartolo "Buddy" III, Marco, and Carlo Salvatore. In 2012, as a result of the attention that the series brought to Hoboken, New Jersey, the Hudson Reporter named him as an honorable mention in its list of Hudson County's 50 most influential people.
Mauro Castano – pastry chef and Buddy's right-hand man. He is married to Buddy's second oldest sister, Maddalena.
Maddalena Castano (née Valastro) (born August 15, 1967) who works the front counter. She is married to Mauro. They have three children: Dominique, Buddy, and Mary.
Danny Dragone – multipurpose employee, worked at the bakery since before Buddy was born. He is a close family friend, and married with one child who works at the bakery: Tatiana. He is nicknamed "the mule" for his versatility.
Frank "Frankie" Amato Jr. – cake decorator. He is Buddy's first cousin, the godfather to his son Marco, and married with two children.
Joseph "Joey" Faugno – The shop's head baker. He is married to Buddy's oldest sister, Grace. They have two children: Robert and Bartolina.
Lisa Gonzalez (born December 31, 1974) – Buddy's youngest sister, she works the store front. She has three kids, Teresa, John, and Isabella.
Anthony "Cousin Anthony" Bellifemine – baker and former delivery boy.
Maurizio Belgiovine – delivery boy. He is Buddy's brother-in-law.
Ralph "Ralphie Boy" Attanasia III – bakery sculptor.
Ashley Holt – Buddy's intern (winner of Season 3 of Next Great Baker).
Mary Sciarrone (née Valastro) (born September 30, 1969) – Cake Consultant and Buddy's third oldest sister. She is married with two children. In the fifth season episode "Stained Glass & A Surprised Danny", she was fired because of multiple incidents involving her making inappropriate statements. Mary was rehired as a cake consultant a few weeks after being fired.
Grace Faugno (née Valastro) - (born June 30, 1966) Buddy's oldest sister. She works front counter. She is married to Joey Faugno, the shop's head baker. They have two children: Robert and Bartolina.
Mary Valastro Pinto – Buddy's mother. A show regular until her 2010 retirement; still appears on the show on occasion. Announced in 2012 that she has been diagnosed with ALS. The family's struggle and reaction was documented on the Season 7 finale, "A Bittersweet Homecoming", on July 23, 2012.
Remigio "Remy" Gonzalez – Buddy's former left-hand man and the ex-husband of Buddy's sister Lisa. Remy's first and only child, daughter Isabella, was born on the Cake Boss episode "Mother's Day, Mama and Mom-to-be". He left the show after being arrested for alleged sexual assault.
Salvatore "Sal" Picinich (1947 – January 30, 2011) worked at the bakery from 1964 and was one of Buddy's most trusted employees. Picinich stopped appearing on the show at the end of 2009, when he began battling cancer, but returned in the summer of 2010 to accept the Employee of the Century Award on the occasion of the bakery’s 100th anniversary. He passed away January 30, 2011.
Kevin "Stretch" Krand – a delivery boy who left the shop to continue his education.
Tony "Tone-Tone" Albanese – Buddy's second intern.
Stephanie "Sunshine" Fernandez- top decorator at Carlo's. She was the first female employee who did not work with sales, as stated by Buddy Valastro.
Paul Conti – bakery employee (former contestant of Season 3 of Next Great Baker). was only in a couple of episodes because he lost his house and his job.
The popularity of the show has resulted in increased business for Carlo's Bake Shop, and increased tourism to the Hoboken area. Due to the series' popularity, Carlo's Bake Shop has become a tourist attraction, with lines to enter the bakery often extending down the block and around the corner. In 2010, Hoboken renamed the corner of Washington Street and Newark Street to "Carlo's Bakery Way" in honor of the bakery's centennial.
Season one averaged 2.3 million viewers while season two averaged 1.8 million viewers.
Tie-ins and spinoffs
On November 2, 2010, Buddy Valastro's book, Cake Boss: Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia, which is based on the series, was released. Published by Free Press in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Carlo's Bake Shop, the book features the history and stories of Valastro's family and the bake shop, along with recipes.
Valastro's second book, Baking with the Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy's Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets, is a cook book, also published by Free Press, released November 1, 2011 and featuring Valastro's cake, pastry and decorating recipes.
The success of Cake Boss has led to a spin-off competition series hosted by Valastro, Next Great Baker, in which people compete to win a top cash prize, other valuable prizes, and an apprenticeship at Carlo's Bakery. The program's first season was seen on TLC December 6, 2010 through January 24, 2011, with a second season televised November 28, 2011 to January 30, 2012. The competition's third season premiered on Monday, November 26, 2012.
Another spinoff series, Kitchen Boss, debuted January 25, 2011. This series, which is seen weekdays, features Valastro presenting his family's recipes, as well as special guests, including members of his own family.
A backdoor pilot special, Bakery Boss, debuted on May 27, 2013. The special features Valastro traveling to a struggling bakery, Friendly's Bake Shop in Frankfort, New York, helping them reverse their fortunes, using a format similar to Kitchen Nightmares. The program will be returning to TLC as a series on December 2, 2013.
As of February 10, 2014 (2014-02-10)[update], a total of 149 episodes with six seasons and 5 stand-alone specials have been broadcast. The first five seasons have been released on DVD in Region 1. Up until halfway into the fifth season, each episode title employed alliteration.
In July 2010, Masters Software, Inc., of Cedar Park, Texas, obtained a preliminary injunction forbidding TLC from calling its show "Cake Boss". Since 2006, the company has operated the domain name cakeboss.com, and since 2007, it has sold a bakery management program called CakeBoss. The suit claims that Discovery Communications infringes on its trademark by causing confusion among customers and vendors. In October 2010, Masters Software and Discovery Communications reached a settlement, the details of which are not public.
On June 11, 2012, transgender celebrity Carmen Carrera appeared in a Cake Boss episode, "Bar Mitzvah, Beads & Oh Baby!", in which she knowingly participated in a prank involving Cousin Anthony, who was set up with a date with Carrera. The punchline of the prank had Buddy tell Anthony that Carrera is transgendered. Carrera agreed to participate in the prank on the program in part to promote equality for the transgender community saying, "I'm totally cool with a prank like this, I, you know as long as it's in good fun." Following the airing of the program, Carrera was upset by an interview portion of the program where Buddy said, "And I tell him...that's a man, baby!" Carrera made a statement saying, "I made it VERY clear to the producers on how to use the correct wording before agreeing to filming this but instead they chose to poke fun and be disrespectful. That's not what I'm about! ... I may not have been born a woman, but I'm NOT a man... After taking this journey it's not fair at all to be lied to by the producers. Buddy Valastro apologized for the incident, saying, "I owe an apology to the entire LGBT community. It was absolutely not my intention to upset or offend her, or anyone within the community, and I was wrong to use the words I did. I am a supporter of gay rights and equality, and while I regret this situation and my choice of words, I am thankful to have received this feedback and the opportunity to learn from this mistake. I hope that Carmen accepts my sincere regrets." The following day, on June 12, 2012, TLC announced that "Bar Mitzvah, Beads & Oh Baby!" has been pulled from rotation indefinitely, with plans to re-edit the episode. The episode has since re-aired on July 23, 2012, but with the offending scene reedited.
^Staff. "The Cake Boss returns to Little Ferry", Little Ferry Local, May 7, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2012. "Cake Boss Buddy Valastro returned to Little Ferry on April 27 to accept the "keys to the city" during ceremonies at Borough Hall. Valastro, who grew up in town, is best known for his starring role on the TLC television program The Cake Boss.'"
^Adriana Rambay Fernández, Stephen LaMarca, Gennarose Pope, Ray Smith, Al Sullivan and E. Assata Wright. "They've Got the Power". The Union City Reporter. January 8, 2012. Pages 1, 4–7 and 10–11.