So far, The Masked Singer has earned enough love from the fanbase that it has been renewed for a second season over at Fox. However, it wasn’t always such an easy sell. In fact, The Masked Singer executive producer Craig Plestis revealed selling The Masked Singer was really difficult early on because the show couldn’t exactly reveal its biggest names.
You can’t use the big names, at all, to sell. I can only say there are 65 Grammy nominations here, four Emmy winners, four people who are Walk of Famers, three who have best-selling books. You can use that to sell it, but that doesn’t help American understand who they are. What it does help is the game play.
There were challenges every step of the way to getting The Masked Singer on the air. Pitching recognizable celebrities without sharing their identities and then trying to sell the concept to celebrities without revealing the other contestants who were joining was challenging. As was selling the show to network TV viewers without revealing who the talent would be before the show hit the air.
Going from A to B to C may have been a challenge, but it’s paid off so far. The first episode of the series kicked off to nearly 13 million viewers and a 4.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic. The numbers have fallen a little bit from the premiere, but the Fox series is still kicking ass.
Regardless, Craig Plestis and his team strove hard to make sure they could sign on enough recognizable celebrities that The Masked Singer would be a success in the United States. He also told Variety,
When the mask comes off, they’re well-known — and they’re especially well-known in their fields. It has to be someone that, if you play along from eight to 80 [years old], you can guess who it is.
So far, a lot of people have had fun watching the show and playing along as celebrities like Antonio Brown and Tommy Chong have been revealed. This week’s episode saw the Unicorn come unmasked, with -- spoiler -- Tori Spelling ending up being the person underneath the wild costume. Contestants are only officially revealed on the series after they have been eliminated.
Craig Plestis says The Masked Singer actually keeps two bibles—one for formatting and one that was created just to make sure the level of secrecy remains high on the series. That hasn’t stopped anyone from guessing who might be behind the masks. In fact, only seven people on staff actually knew who the contestants were and even offstage, a level of secrecy permeates everything related to the show. Contestants wear sweatshirts, gloves and visors to continue to hide their gender, race and identity backstage. For Fox, it was important to find celebrities that people would know at home--at least once the masks are taken off.
If you’d like to make your own guesses, new episodes of The Masked Singer air on Wednesday evenings during primetime at 9 p.m. ET. Be sure to check out what competition the new series will be facing in the coming weeks with our full midseason TV premiere schedule.