UPDATED with first trailer: Fox has ordered celebrity singing competition series The Masked Singer based on the hit South Korean format for premiere in January 2019, with Nick Cannon as host, and featuring Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke.
It is one of three unscripted series announced today as part of Fox’s portion of the TCA press tour as the soon-to-be-independent network is making a push in reality programming, along with Spin the Wheel and Mental Samurai.
A viral phenomenon with more than half a billion fans worldwide and the No. 1 top-trending video of 2017 on YouTube, The Masked Singer features celebrities facing off against one another with one major twist: each singer is shrouded from head to toe in an elaborate costume, complete with full face mask to conceal his or her identity. Jeong, McCarthy, Scherzinger and Thicke serve on the panel and play detective, alongside host Cannon.
Produced by Endemol Shine North America, The Masked Singer was developed for the U.S. and is executive-produced by Craig Plestis (Minute to Win It, The Winner Is). Izzie Pick Ibarra (Dancing with the Stars, Breaking Pointe) also serves as an executive producer, and Alex Rudzinski (Dancing with the Stars, Grease: Live) will direct.
“This is truly one of the most unique, genre-defining formats I’ve ever seen,” said Rob Wade, Fox’s President, Alternative Entertainment and Specials. “It’s a massive international hit, and its boldness and originality make it the perfect fit for Fox.”
Because of the premise, Fox would not reveal the identities of the celebrity competitors beyond the fact that they’ve amassed 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-Platinum albums, 16 Emmy nominations, nine Broadway shows, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four Super Bowl titles. The singers may attempt to throw the crowd off of their scent. One singer will be eliminated each week, ultimately revealing his or her true identity.
Paradigm represents Craig Plestis executive producer/SMART DOG MEDIA and the format from South Korea through MBC.