For the first time in 14 years, Britain’s Got Talent won’t be on our screens later this spring; In January, ITV postponed the long-running entertainment show in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
With a huge gap now left in ITV’s Saturday night schedule, the broadcaster is rumoured to be filling it with The Masked Dancer – a sister show to The Masked Singer which is currently proving popular in the States.
While there’s been no official news yet, here’s everything you need to know about The Masked Dancer, whether it could be crossing the pond and how the show works.
What is The Masked Dancer?
The Masked Dancer, the sister show to international hit The Masked Singer, is a reality series in which a line-up of secret celebrities dance for a panel of guessers whilst wearing fully-concealing costumes.
The show began as a spoof segment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and soon moved to Fox in the US, with The Office star Craig Robinson hosting and Ken Jeong, singer Paula Abdul, Beverly Hills 90210’s Brian Austin Green and High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale making up the panel of celebrity guessers.
Much like The Masked Singer, the contestant with the least votes is revealed each week, however viewers are given clues as to the line-up’s identities through their video packages as well as in the dances, while in a completely new twist – the viewers and panellists get to hear the contestants’ actual speaking voices.
When could The Masked Dancer air?
This year’s series of Britain’s Got Talent has been postponed until 2022, which leaves a gap in ITV’s weekend schedule from April until June.
It’s possible that The Masked Dancer could fill this gap considering how popular series two of The Masked Singer has been with audiences over the winter period.
However, there have been rumours that filming could begin in the summer, which would mean that the show wouldn’t be ready in time for the Britain’s Got Talent slot, but could still air later in the year.
“ITV struck the deal over the rights to the format at the start of this week and now the producers are compiling a team to start work on it,” a source told The Sun. “It’s still very early days and casting has yet to properly begin on the show, which they hope can be filmed this summer.”
ITV told RadioTimes.com no decisions have been made as to what will fill BGT’s slot.
The Masked Dancer judges
While there’s been no confirmation as to whether The Masked Dancer will air let alone who the judges will be, it is rumoured that The Masked Singer panellists will be drafted in to judge The Masked Dancer as well.
This would mean that Davina McCall, Jonathan Ross, Rita Ora and Mo Gilligan would be sat on The Masked Dancer’s panel, while Joel Dommett could potentially be recruited to. host this sister show, with an source telling The Sun: “They’d also like Joel Dommett to host The Masked Dancer again, but those talks are ongoing.”
Which celebs appeared on the US version?
The first US series of The Masked Dancer is currently underway, with the show about to enter its seventh week.
So far, six of the masked celebrities have been unveiled, with the likes of rapper Ice-T, science presenter Bill Nye, safety activist Elizabeth Smart, singer Brian McKnight, Jersey Shore star Vinny Guadagnino and singer Jordin Sparks taking part in the competition.
The Masked Singer continues on Saturday at 7pm on ITV. Take a look at what else is on with our TV Guide.