10:15am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Masked Dancer' Series a Go at Fox
Fox is expanding its Masked franchise.
With The Masked Singer already airing twice a season, the network has handed out a straight-to-series order for The Masked Dancer, based on the popular segment on The Ellen Show.
Ellen DeGeneres will exec produce the all-new format, inspired by Fox's breakout hit reality singing series. The series, which lacks an episode count and premiere date, is a co-production of Fox's recently launched Fox Alternative Entertainment banner and Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television, with DeGeneres housed at the latter company. (The Masked Singer is based on a Korean format from MBC and was, in season one, produced by Endemol. It is now fully owned in-house by Fox's Alternative banner.)
"We’re still blown away by The Masked Singer's massive impact on pop culture, but when Ellen debuted her own inventive segment, The Masked Dancer, on her show, we were truly amazed,” said Rob Wade, president of Alternative Entertainment and Specials at Fox Entertainment. “We are thrilled to partner with Ellen on this new format and take The Masked Dancer to a whole new creative level.”
Like DeGeneres' segment, the all-new format will see celebrity contestants perform unique dances in elaborate costumes and masks. Craig Plestis, who found the original format and brought it to the U.S. for Fox, will also be involved in the dancing spinoff.
"This is gonna be just as fun and suspenseful as The Masked Singer, but with a lot more Krumping,” DeGeneres said. “And I cannot wait!”
The Masked Singer was a breakout hit after launching as part of Fox's midseason lineup last season. For the 2019-2020 broadcast season, Fox doubled down on the format and will air two cycles — the recently completed one that launched in the fall and the upcoming midseason edition, which will bow after the Super Bowl. The recently concluded second season averaged 3 million total viewers after seven days of DVR and tied with NBC drama This Is Us as the season's top entertainment program. The third season, launching Feb. 2 after the big game, will also see Fox's Beat Shazam host Jamie Foxx stop in as a guest panelist as he joins host Nick Cannon and panelists Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke in the season premiere.
As for DeGeneres, The Masked Dancer is the TV icon's latest unscripted foray and joins NBC's Little Big Shots and Ellen's Game of Games.
In other unscripted news announced Tuesday during Fox's portion of the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, the network's Lego Masters will launch Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. and feature guests including Mayim Bialik, Terry Crews, Nicole Byer and The Lego Movie writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Special appearances will also include droids BB-8, C-3PO and R2-D2 in a special Star Wars-themed episode.