The Masked Singer hires Mo Gilligan to replace Ken Jeong for season 2

The recasting was forced on the ITV entertainment show by international travel restrictions.

Mo Gilligan

BAFTA-winning comedian Mo Gilligan will join the panel for season two of ITV hit The Masked Singer, after US comedian Ken Jeong was ruled out because of travel restrictions.

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Season two of The Masked Singer would start production in September without Jeong, who said he was “gutted” to miss it, but would continue on the panel for season four of the US version.

Jeong said he had so much fun in the first UK run that “nothing short of a global pandemic would stop me coming back for season two”.

He added: “I hope when things start to normalise I can return and offer my expertise on all things British, like the Australian Open. Please take care, be safe, and as the title of the show suggests, wear a mask.”

Gilligan said it was a privilege to be joining host Joel Dommett and celebrity sleuths Davina McCall, Jonathan Ross and Rita Ora.

“It’s one of the funniest shows out there and I’m really proud to play my small part to help bring a little bit of joy to the nation.”

London comedian Gilligan won the 2020 BAFTA TV Award for Best Entertainment Performance for The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan, which screens on Channel 4.

McCall said that without Jeong sitting beside her “maybe I’ll be less distracted and more on it with my guesses”, but she hoped that he would make guest appearances in season two, a possibility suggested by ITV.

The Masked Singer pitches 12 celebrities together with flamboyant costumes and concealed identities as they attempt to obscure who they are from the panel and the audience across eight shows. Former Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts won season one, from a diverse line-up which included England football star Teddy Sheringham, TV personality Denise Van Outen and opera star Katherine Jenkins.

The Masked Singer will start filming season two in front of a socially distanced live audience in September and was one of a number entertainment shows such as QI, Family Fortunes and Britain’s Got Talent which would take this approach.

The Masked Singer season one has been hailed by ITV as the biggest new format launch on any channel in 2020, and it drew an average audience of 6.6million viewers and 32 per cent share when it premiered in January.

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