'The Masked Dancer': Did Ellen DeGeneres inspire 'The Masked Singer' spinoff? Truth behind the crazy guessing game
After those segments became viral on the internet and the ‘Masked Singer’ team saw how well they played, Fox was finally convinced
The US version of South Korean hit musical reality show ‘The Masked Singer’ was taken up by FOX and its success can be measured by the huge ratings it garnered. In the span of slightly less than two years, the network released four seasons of the show and Season 3 earned the coveted post-Super Bowl time slot for its premiere. Adding another notch to the franchise's plaudits is the upcoming spinoff series ‘The Masked Dancer’.And celebrity host Ellen DeGeneres might have been the influence behind the idea. While Fox and executive producer Craig Plestis kicked around the idea of a spin-off in the wake of 'Masked Singer’ boffo ratings, they still weren’t sure it would work.
On 'The Masked Singer', panelists and viewers try to guess who’s under the costume via clues and ultimately their singing voices. A dance show would take away that key component, how could anyone even try to make a guess? ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ had capitalized on the popularity of ‘Masked Singer’ to create its own ‘Masked Dancer’ routine. After those segments became viral on the internet and the ‘Masked Singer’ team saw how well they played, Fox alternative entertainment and specials president Rob Wade was finally convinced.
The guessing game on Ellen featured DeGeneres and her DJ Twitch and celebrities such as Howie Mandel, Sean Hayes, Derek Hough and Colton Underwood as well as ‘The Masked Singer’ panelist Ken Jeong. In the upcoming format, celebrity contestants will perform unique dances, while covered from head-to-toe in elaborate costumes and face masks, leaving audiences to guess their identities. “The segments that Ellen had done was really the thing that persuaded me to do it,” he said. “You saw from the way that [‘Ellen’ DJ Stephen ‘Twitch’ Boss] and her kind of figured out who people were underneath these costumes that we could actually build a proper format around it,” Wade told Variety.
Maybe that’s why DeGeneres was recruited to serve as executive producer on 'The Masked Dancer', which premieres on Fox this Sunday night, immediately after NFL. Craig Robinson will host and panelists Paula Abdul, Brian Austin Green, Ashley Tisdale and Ken Jeong will also be present.
One distinct difference between the two “masked” shows is that on ‘The Masked Dancer’, clue packages are more story-oriented, with more in-depth, detailed hints. And the producers also added a feature they call “Word Up,” in which the contestant says one word, in their own voice. That word is also a major clue to their identity.
“We were really debating it, is this too big of a clue?” executive producer Plestis said. “Once you hear someone’s voice, you kind of really narrow it down. It turned out to be a great element in the show. Some of [the panelists] picked up on a lot of facts, old, young, whatever it might be. But also through some interesting misdirects that took them into other directions.” So are you ready to catch all the performances and guess who's who?
‘The Masked Dancer’ is all set to premiere on December 27, 2020, at 8 pm ET on FOX.