Security for season 2 of Fox’s The Masked Singer will have to be increased a lot, now that it’s a ratings success and a social media sensation, EP Craig Plestis acknowledged at TCA.
He declined to say how they planned to keep the weekly reveal a secret, but joked they’ve already contacted the Pentagon for advice, suggesting he hasn’t been keeping up with what’s going on in Washington.
In January, Fox renewed the breakout celebrity competition series for a second season. The Masked Singer is this season’s No. 1 new series and top unscripted show, which drew more than 17 million multi-platform viewers for its debut episode.
Asked how they kept the studio audience from revealing identities of the masked singers until after broadcast – season 1 was shot months before it aired – Plestis said all audience members had to sign NDAs. About halfway through shooting the season, they decided to greatly restrict the size of the audience for the reveal, for security reasons; the smaller crowd that got to see this week’s masked singer reveal, for instance, was about 150 “friends and family” who were told in the strongest possible terms of to keep a lid on it — in addition to the NDA and the smartphone confiscations during taping.
It’s “really hard in this day and age,” Plestis acknowledged.
Meanwhile, Fox’s Alternative Entertainment president Rob Wade said only a few people at the network were in on the singers’ identities. Other network senior staffers specifically asked not to be told, “terrified” they might accidentally give away intel “at dinner parties.”
Asked by one critic to explain the show’s success, Wade acknowledged it was a “big bet” for the network but “all the pointers were there” that it could launch well.
“If not this, then what? It felt like a great show,” he boasted but admitted to being nervous at 5 AM after its launch, waiting for the numbers to come in. The Masked Singer copped the largest unscripted series launch in seven years.
Wade had no details on plans for the second season, saying they want to see how the final several episodes perform, after which they will decide what fine tuning to do on the franchise and how quickly it should be returned to the networks’ lineup where it is now officially a very important asset.
Based on the hit South Korean format, 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. Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke serve on the panel, playing detective alongside series host Nick Cannon.
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