More security. More 'savvy' clues. Early interest. The team behind Fox's popular reality show offer a glimpse into the second cycle.
Much of The Masked Singer's success rests on the immense secrecy in its production. But now that the Fox singing competition has become a massive success, producers may be faced with a huge challenge in maintaining that same high level of mystery for the second season.
"We have a lot of production processes in place for that type of secrecy that can still remain in place, if that makes sense. So few people knew who any of the singers were on our production -- and it was very, very, very few people," executive producer Izzie Pick Ibarra told reporters Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour.
In addition to the celebrity contestants being concealed from head to toe (in addition to their teams), Ibarra revealed that they sent letters to the participants informing them about what they could expect, from feeling "isolated" when they arrive to no one from the crew being able to speak to them or "know you by name." From the sounds of it, Ibarra and the producing team have every intention of keeping that going for the new season. "We can carry on that to another season and I feel confident that we can keep [that going]."
Executive producer Craig Plestis shared that there will be "a lot more security" for season two, quipping, "We’re talking to the Pentagon already." Robin Thicke, a panelist on the show, added that there's an "inherent excitement that the new celebrities will have knowing that they’re doing something that their kids and grandmas and grandpas all enjoy." "I think they’ll want to keep it secretive because of the thrill," he added.
Plestis noted that it's still early in the planning for what, if any, format changes will take effect for The Masked Singer and whether they'll incorporate the general public into the episode tapings for the new season.
"It’s an evolving process. We’re talking right now about what we’re going to be doing for season two and the security measures. It will be increased, it really will. What exactly we’re going to do, I can’t tell you right now. It will be a lot more labor intensive," he said, emphasizing that the production team will go all-in on implementing avenues to ensure that the secrecy remains intact.
"That’s the big part of the show right now: keeping the secret," Plestis continued. "We want America to guess. We want our panel to guess. We really tried to keep every secret from them because that’s a magic that we got from the show. If we can keep that again, keep all this a secret from everybody, from the crew and from the rest of America, it’s going to be a great season."
While there is no indication as to when The Masked Singer could return to the Fox schedule, Fox Entertainment's president of alternative entertainment and specials, Rob Wade, hinted that they have already received interest. “You have to aim for a time of year to shoot before you really go out to people and say, ‘Do you want to do [this]?’ We’ve had a lot of phone calls, more phone calls than we had in season one.”
“I see online campaigns already for people to be on the show next season, so I think a lot of it too is the fans are going to drive some excitement for people to be on it. They’ll start guessing before the season starts," Thicke said.
Many of the celebrity singers have been guessed accurately by viewers as the episodes have gone on, and Ibarra addressed whether the audience's ability to accurately identify who they are so swiftly will change the clue-giving process moving forward.
“Maybe. We wanted everyone to be able to play along at home, for viewers to find the show accessible and for it to not be so difficult," she acknowledged. "We’re going to have to be a bit more savvy, but a lot of the clue-guessing that people are making aren’t necessarily right, which is great to see that people are engaging in it.”
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.