Niecy Nash Takes on ‘Masked Singer’ Host Role

Porcupine and co-host Niecy Nash in the season five premiere of Fox's 'The Masked Singer'
Porcupine and co-host Niecy Nash in the season five premiere of Fox's 'The Masked Singer' (Image credit: Michael Becker/Fox)

Season five of The Masked Singer starts on Fox March 10. Niecy Nash will be guest host as Nick Cannon recovers from COVID. The panelists are Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke. 

Cannon rejoins the show in the second half of the season. Executive producer James Breen said Nash, who stars in Claws on TNT, stepped in last minute and “immediately had her own chemistry with the panel. She was just a producer's dream, absolutely fantastic.”

During Fox’s TCA press tour, Nash said she’s better suited to be host than panelist. “I don't know how well I would have done on the panel,” she said, “because everybody who stood next to me in the costume I thought was somebody I dated. I'm, like, ‘Did we go out?’"

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The new season features wild cards, which sees a new batch of masked celebs take the stage at the end of the shows and hope to unseat another masked celeb in the group. “It's always about, how can we make it fresh?” said executive producer Craig Plestis. “How can we do something a little bit different but still not go off the format?”

McCarthy said the wild cards bring a fresh blast of energy. “I think some of the wild cards have some of the most moving stories,” she said. 

Added Breen, “One of them in particular gives you one of the most emotional performances of the season, and one of the most emotional stories.”

LeAnn Rimes won last season. The panelists promise more big names this season. “The level of star power in Season 5 in The Masked Singer is at another level,” teased Thicke. 

Scherzinger said more talent was available to participate because they’re not on tour amid the pandemic. “Celebrities have said their schedules are more free but also that they want this platform, that they miss performing, that they miss the stage, and this is the perfect opportunity to get back out there,” she said. 

Season one of The Masked Singer spinoff The Masked Dancer wrapped last month. Jeong is a panelist on both. “Look, we are getting the message out to wear a mask, guys,” he quipped. 

The Masked Singer is an entertaining escape from all the misery happening on the news channels and in the world, suggested Thicke. “We want to give people something that takes them away from, you know, the reality,” he said. “We want to give them something to celebrate, great music and great times, and remind us that those times are coming soon again. It's all about positivity.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.