Everything to know about ‘The Masked Dancer’

If “The Masked Singer” and “Dancing with the Stars” had a baby, it would be “The Masked Dancer.” Fox’s reality TV spin-off series has been in pre-production for nearly a year, ever since it was first announced back in January. Every day more and more spoilers are trickling in about the Ellen DeGeneres-produced dance program, including the host, judges and premiere date. (Watch the preview trailer below.) So when can you expect to see the secret celebrities hoofing in on stage in extravagant costumes?

Here’s everything to know so far about the upcoming season of “The Masked Dancer.” Bookmark this page as we’ll be updating when new information is revealed.

When will it premiere?
Mark your calendars for Sunday, December 27, 2020, as that’s when “The Masked Dancer” will have its long-awaited season premiere. It will then move to its regular time slot on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.

Who is the host?
Comedian and actor Craig Robinson will serve as host of the new program. He’s perhaps best known for playing Darryl Philbin on “The Office,” and his film resume includes such titles as “This Is the End,” “Hot Tub Time Machine” and “Pineapple Express.” Since “The Masked Singer” host Nick Cannon wasn’t asked to emcee “The Masked Dancer,” does that mean we might see him as a future contestant?

Who are the panelists?
Ken Jeong, a current panelist on “The Masked Singer” and the host of “I Can See Your Voice,” will be a judge on “The Masked Dancer.” He’ll be joined on the panel by Paula Abdul, Ashley Tisdale and Brian Austin Green, the latter of which was most recently seen wearing the Giraffe costume on “The Masked Singer.”

Are there any guest judges?
Yes! Mayim Bialik revealed on Instagram in November that her “dress split open” while judging “The Masked Dancer” alongside Jeong, Abdul, Tisdale and Green. On “The Masked Singer,” guest judges regularly pop up for an episode to lend fresh thoughts to who might be hiding under the various costumes. Fox promises more guest stars will be announced “soon.”

What’s the format?
Similar to “The Masked Singer,” the new show will feature celebrities in head-to-toe costumes dancing for the votes of the panelists and a virtual audience. The contestants will perform solo, with masked partners or in groups, and many different dance styles will be featured. Every week the person who receives the lowest number of votes will be eliminated and forced to unmask in front of America.

What is Ellen’s involvement?
Simply put, there would be no “Masked Dancer” without DeGeneres. It’s based on a popular segment from her talk show, in which she and Jeong try to guess the identities of secret celebrities (such as Howie Mandel) who were dancing in costumes. “This is gonna be just as fun and suspenseful as ‘The Masked Singer,’ but with a lot more Krumping,” DeGeneres joked about the spin-off series, for which she’s a producer.

Will there be weekly clues?
Of course — there’s no fun guessing without having countless clues to pour over. The network has already released the first set of generic clues, claiming the masked dancers combined “have amassed more than 38 million albums sold worldwide, 20 Emmy Award wins, 20 Grammy Award nominations, 10 World Dancing titles, five New York Times Best-Selling Author titles, four Olympic gold medals and three Broadway show appearances.”

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