Niecy Nash will fill in as host for Nick Cannon on Fox’s “The Masked Singer” when it returns for Season 5 next month.
Cannon has tested positive for COVID-19, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap, which was first reported by Variety. Fox declined to comment on the exact nature of Cannon’s absence. He is expected to return later in the season.
Cannon’s positive test comes a few days before physical production is slated to begin on Thursday. The fifth season is scheduled to premiere in March.
Nash was a guest panelist on the last season of “Masked Singer.” Along with Nash, the show’s usual four panelists, Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke, will return.
“The Masked Singer” is on its midseason hiatus following its fall cycle, where it is tied with NBC’s “This Is Us” as the top entertainment series on TV. In its place, Fox is airing spinoff series, “The Masked Dancer,” which also features Jeong as a panelist. Craig Robinson handles the hosting duties on that show.
As TheWrap detailed before it returned for Season 4 last fall, “The Masked Singer” had to go beyond taking its usual precautions to conceal performers’ identities to following guidelines that would help curb the spread of the coronavirus for cast and crew.
“When the pandemic hit, there were two big points, at least for myself and my team: How to be creative in this pandemic — make it look like a bigger show than we’ve ever done before, but with the limitations of shooting in a pandemic?” executive producer Craig Plestis, who developed the South Korean “Masked Singer” format into the Fox version, told TheWrap. “And then the second part is how to make a show with fewer people on the stage area, so everyone’s protected.”