Nigella Lawson's 'The Taste' Sees U.K. Ratings Drop

The Taste Nigella Lawson Key - P 2013

The Taste Nigella Lawson Key - P 2013

The audience for the second episode of the new season of the cooking competition, hosted by the celebrity chef, is nearly cut in half.

LONDON – Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson's cooking competition, The Taste, saw its U.K. ratings drop sharply on Tuesday night.

The show, which airs on U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 on Tuesday evening, recorded an average audience of one million for the second episode of its new season, down from the season debut that had attracted 1.8 million viewers last week, according to figures reported by The Guardian.

Lawson's Channel 4 show came in last in the 9 p.m. Tuesday time slot in the U.K. broadcast ratings, according to the data.

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BBC One comedy-crime drama Death in Paradise won the ratings battle in the time slot, returning for its third season with an average of 7.1 million viewers and a 19.7 percent audience share.

Lawson's recent return to her job as a TV personality came after her headline-making appearances in a British court during the trial of her former personal assistants, who were recently cleared of defrauding the TV host and cook and her former husband, Charles Saatchi.

U.K. industry observers wouldn't immediately predict whether the drop could be reversed by future episodes.

During the recent trial, Lawson hit the headlines, set social media alight and caused a slew of opinion articles in the British press over revelations that she used cocaine while married to Saatchi.

During the trial, Lawson, who also serves as a judge on ABC's U.S. version of The Taste, admitted to taking cocaine a handful of times with her late husband, John Diamond, and once during her marriage to Saatchi.

She also found herself at the center of attention during her acrimonious divorce from Saatchi in 2013, which followed the publication of paparazzi shots that showed how he assaulted her at a London restaurant in June, an act Saatchi admitted to, thus avoiding formal charges.

The Taste in the U.K. sees Lawson, L.A.-based French chef Ludo Lefebvre and chef-turned-TV foodie Anthony Bourdain judge dishes based only on blind tastings.