Fox Entertainment is launching its own in-house production studio, dubbed Fox Alternative Entertainment.
The newly minted studio provides the company stronger ownership and greater creative control over in-house programs going forward, a Fox spokesperson said. Additionally, the new unit could keep production costs down and generate revenue for the company.
Through the studio, Fox is hoping to work directly with talent and foster burgeoning new voices in the unscripted space; provide indie producers without production scale to directly access Fox Entertainment and the reach of its broadcast network; be better positioned with in-house producers as buyers flood the marketplace; and to identify formats for the U.S. and expand them globally.
Fox Alternative Entertainment will formally bring its unscripted production capabilities in-house under Rob Wade, president of alternative entertainment and specials at Fox Entertainment. The move will begin with the reality singing competition format The Masked Singer, which was a surprise ratings smash with a premiere that drew 9.4 million viewers to Fox earlier this year.
Endemol Shine North America (ESNA), producers on season one of The Masked Singer, have exited the U.S. adaptation of the unscripted format. Craig Plestis, whose studio Smart Dog Media, has an overall deal with ESNA, will continue to executive produce the series. Izzie Pick Ibarra will continue as showrunner for the next season of The Masked Singer.
Endemol Shine Group, however, will continue to produce the hit entertainment format in a number of territories globally. Endemol Shine Boomdog, ESNA’s subsidiary division, is producing a Mexican-based format of the The Masked Singer for Televisa, while Endemol Shine is producing a German version of the singing series for ProSieben.
The American format is hosted by Nick Cannon, and features panelists Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke as they judge a group of celebrities who face off against one another while wearing elaborate, concealing costumes that hide his or her identity. Ranging from notable athletes to Grammy-winning artists, viewers are left guessing who is singing behind the mask. Each week, one singer is eliminated, revealing their identity.
The Masked Singer is based on the South Korean format Mystery Music Show: King of Mask Singer for MBC and was greenlit by Fox in November 2017.
MBC is the original producer and global distributor of the format.