The Masked Singer has found itself in the middle of political controversy during its current seventh season after Deadline revealed that Rudy Giuliani was one of the contestants. Donald Trump’s lawyer was unmasked this week on the Fox reality competition series.
But for executive producer Craig Plestis, who brought the Korean format to the U.S., the challenge remains the same for every season.
“For us, it’s always that struggle, what can we do that’s different, that’s exciting to get the viewers engaged more. This season with [the show’s tagline] ‘The Good, The Bad and the Cuddly’ and having them challenge each other is just another way to keep it fresh and inviting for the viewers. It’s a challenge to keep it fresh and reimagine it as much as possible while keeping the core of who is under the balance,” he said during the show’s panel at Deadline’s Contenders Television: Documentary + Unscripted event.
Judge Robin Thicke, who has been on the show since the start, added, “The producers care so much about every season and every episode and making sure that it’s not monotonous and we offer our audience something special and original. You have to keep on trying to top yourself each year.”
The panel conversation took place ahead of Giuliani’s unmasking, and Plestis wouldn’t be drawn on the decision. “Like every season when I’m asked who is behind the mask, we’ve never commented or revealed who is beneath the mask,” he said. “It’s up to everyone to discover that in real time when the show airs so I’d say keep watching the show and see who is under all of the masks.”
Plestis and his team wanted this year’s costumes to include their biggest to date — a challenge for new costume designer Tim Chappel, who took over from Marina Toybina this season.
However, Chappel, the Oscar-winning costumier behind 1995 film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, did have some experience, having worked on the Australian version of the show, helping him to create the likes of the Hydra costume, which couldn’t even fit down the show’s entrance tunnel.
“It’s always hard coming in to a new season with the family but they rallied around what we needed to do. Tim did the Australian version so he knew very well what we needed to do because there’s lots of complexities around designing these costumes that you can sing in and have good audio. I’m glad we didn’t get someone brand new for that because it is a science and he knew what the science was,” said Plestis.
“Sometimes bigger is better,” joked Thicke, adding that they should launch a Madame Tussauds-style museum for The Masked Singer costumes on the Sunset Strip.
The pair already have one eye on Season 8 of The Masked Singer – though Fox has not officially greenlit the new season. Plestis revealed that he and his team are already in pre-production and coming up with ideas and costumes.
“It’s a challenge to outdo ourselves and to come up with some things that are going to sparkle and get America excited. I think there’s some ideas that we’re playing with with the network that are going to be super exciting and the first time that we ever see something,” he said.
Check back Monday for the panel video.