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While Fox is betting on its robust animated slate, summer holdovers, and a major acquisition for its virus-proof fall 2020 schedule, the network is still working to produce a new season of unscripted hit The Masked Singer later this year.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has begun to pave the way for filming to resume in California in the coming months, and the production team is working remotely to prepare for the beginning of filming this fall.
“We’re full steam ahead, but everyone’s operating in their isolated bubbles in their houses. We’re getting the work done. It takes a lot longer, I’m not going to lie,” said executive producer Craig Plestis during a panel with costume designer Marina Toybina on Friday.
That extra work not only includes multiple daily Zoom calls to discuss typical production issues, but also in-depth planning for various safety contingencies once production does begin.
“It’s making sure everyone is protected going into production, with testing and everything else and limited amount of people on set, and keeping people even when they get to production in isolated positions,” said Plestis, adding, “Safety is key all the way across for our crew and our talent. It’s a lot of extra work, a lot of extra money, but it’s worth it to produce this.”
Currently, The Masked Singer is the only series on Fox’s fall schedule that has not been filmed (or, like the network’s animated fare, hasn’t continued production remotely). And there are still discussions about whether or not the show will have a live audience once filming does begin.
“We’re still going over plans for a possible audience. We’re not shooting for a while so we’ll see what happens in the next few months,” said Plestis.
The Masked Singer wrapped its third season on May 20, when The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss won the title (joining season one winner T-Pain and season two champion Wayne Brady). Production had wrapped shortly before the coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic, shutting down film and TV sets around the world.
“Could you imagine if we had never gotten to finish the season and everybody would have been sitting there waiting for a winner? But luckily, right before all the world went into chaos, we finished up the show,” Burruss told THR after her win. “I would have never imagined that the whole world would be stuck in the house and they had to watch it anyway.”
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