The Masked Singer stunt that the show began teasing even before the 7th season premiered in February didn’t pay off in the ratings for FOX. Deadline posted a “spoiler” describing the show unmasking former NYC mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, afterwhich judge Ken Jeong stormed out, with a worried Robin Thicke right behind him. (Read our Recap)
Deadline described the “spoiler” in vague terms. The outlet didn’t give away Giuliani’s costume (Jack in the Box) Also, it presented the timing as “the premiere.” Folks tuned in to the first show expecting Giuliani…but no. The notorious figure didn’t show up until the SEVENTH week. Deadline wasn’t technically wrong. They merely left out that he appeared and exited the show on the premiere night of the third set of contestants. FOX, with Deadline’s help, attempted to carefully orchestrate a publicity stunt that would keep people tuning in week after week.
Giulini Masked Singer episode garnered the show’s lowest ratings ever
But was it worth it? The Masked Singer April 20 ratings were the show’s LOWEST EVER. It’s not surprising that casting a man who attempted to overturn a free and fair American election may not garner the stampede to broadcast TV hoped for.
Masked Singer ratings have dropped precipitously since the 2019 debut
When The Masked Singer season 1 premiered in Winter 2019, crowning “Monster” T-Pain as its champ, it netted a 3.0 rating in the key 18-49 demo and 9.36 million viewers. The finale was even higher–a 3.6 rating in the demo and 11.47 million viewers.
In its first season, The Masked Singer was the highest rated non-sports series, and outpaced both American Idol on ABC and The Voice on NBC. American Idol season 17 premiere earned a 1.7 rating in the demo and 8.65 million viewers. The finale garnered a 1.5 and 8.74 million viewers. The Voice season 16 premiere earned a 2.1 rating and 10.77 million viewers, the finale a 1.1 in the demo and 7.42 million viewers. Survivor, which premiered the same night and time as The Masked Singer, but on CBS, had a 1.6 rating in the demo and 7.75 million viewers.
The most recent episode (April 20), earned The Masked Singer a 0.63 rating in the demo and 3,83 million viewers. That is quite a ratings slide in 3 years. Survivor on CBS was the night’s winner with an 0.86 rating in the demo and 5.43 million viewers.
The Masked Singer ratings have fallen further than its rivals
While ratings have fallen year to year for broadcast TV overall, The Masked Singer has fallen farther than its rivals. This season, it’s about even with American Idol. The Masked Singer season 7 premiered on February 20 with 0.9 in the demo and 4.15 million viewers, while American Idol season 20 premiered on February 27 with 0.9 in the demo and 6.30 million viewers.
The Voice is not airing a spring cycle. Rookie competition show American Song Contest took its place, and has been a failure for NBC. The series debuted with a o.5 rating, and 2.90 million viewers, and dropped to a 0.3 rating in subsequent weeks. Overall viewers have been under 2 million.
Let’s take a look at this week’s ratings. American Idol airs on Sundays and on select Mondays. American Song Contest airs on Monday. The Masked Singer airs on Wednesday. All at 8 pm.
Broadcast Ratings week starting April 17
Sunday April 17
American Idol (3 hours) ABC – 8-11 – 0.70 18-49 demo, 5.27 million viewers
Monday April 18
American Song Contest NBC – 8-10 – 0.27 18-49 demo, 1.53 million viewers
American Idol ABC – 8-10 – 0.62 18-49 demo, 5.57 million viewers
Wednesday April 20
The Masked Singer FOX – 8-9 – 0.63 18-49 demo, 3.83 million viewers
Survivor CBS – 8-9 pm – 0.86 18-49 demo, 5.43 million viewers
ratings numbers from showbuzzdaily.com
Why is The Masked Singer losing viewers?
When The Masked Singer premiered, an American version of an extremely popular South Korean series, it was novel. Nothing like that had ever been on US TV before. But while “novelties” can seem fresh at first, they can also wear thin quickly.
The Masked Singer has no stakes. The celebrities “win” at the end, but there is no money for charity or a brand new career. It may give an older contestant a shot in the arm. But that’s about it. Also, and here is where FOX went wrong. The entire show is so very very FAKE. When the pandemic hit, the show emptied the studios. But unlike other competition shows, it didn’t live in the reality of masked up audiences, or NO audiences (Well, OK, America’s Got Talent in the summer edited in fake audiences too). It edited in reaction shots from earlier seasons. The overall effect came off as inauthentic.
Additionally, folks complain about the panel schtick on The Voice and American Idol. But The Masked Singer takes fake antics to a whole new level. Last season they did a bit that if a judge was certain of celebrity’s identity, they could push a button. And if they are correct, eliminate them immediately. The bit was so obviously scripted and very very stupid. Yes, this is a stupid show. But it’s still a show! A wink and a nod, but still take it seriously, FOX.
Heading down the Rabbit Hole!
And OK. I’m going down the rabbit hole here. ABC’s Dancing with the Stars features celebrities too. But there are REAL STAKES. They dance with talented professionals. People at home vote for the winner. On The Masked Singer its the “studio audience” and the “panel” who “vote.” Basically, production can and probably DOES manufacture results. Rudy probably signed a “one and done” contract, for instance. And, isn’t it fishy that Wayne Brady (Fox) won season 2 and then hosted a FOX game show, Game of Talents immediately after his season?
Additionally, the caliber of celebrities have never been A or even B list, no matter how much the judges guess “Taylor Swift” or “Lady Gaga.” Nope, famous people will never sign up for this show.
In short novelty wears off FAST on an obviously FAKETY FAKE FAKE show that employs a FAKETY FAKE audience that in the end, has absolutely no stakes. And the voting? It could be FAKETY FAKE too. So in the end, who cares? The dumb Giuliani stunt, a bad idea to begin with, only served to alienate folks the network can’t afford to lose.