"The Masked Singer" host Nick Cannon has contracted the coronavirus and will miss an unspecified number of episodes when the Fox musical competition returns for season 5.
The singer-actor's representative confirmed to the trade magazine Variety on Wednesday that Cannon, 40, is resting in quarantine. Comedian Niecy Nash "will fill in for Nick at the start of season 5, which begins filming today," a Fox spokeswoman told Newsday Thursday.
The show, in which panelists Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke try to guess the identities of celebrities singing in highly elaborate and colorful, full-body costumes, is scheduled to return next month. Cannon, as one of the executive producers, shared a 2020 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Competition Program.
Nash, 50, who has starred in such series as "Reno 911!" and "Claws," earned two Emmy nominations for her supporting role as Denise "Didi" Ortley on the HBO comedy series "Getting On," and one for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for Netflix's 2019 "When They See Us." She had served as a guest panelist on season 4's Nov. 11, 2020, episode.
Neither Cannon nor Nash has commented publicly.
In addition to keeping stringent COVID-19 health and safety protocols, like all network series, "The Masked Singer" includes a medical doctor on its panel, comedian Jeong, who per Variety "has in particular kept an eye on how the show handled safety."
Country music star LeAnn Rimes, costumed as The Sun, successfully kept her identity from the judges to win the fourth season on the Dec. 17 finale. Singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc, costumed as Mushroom, took second place and Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter, costumed as Crocodile, placed third.
Advancing through to the Dec. 3 episode had been Long Island Music Hall of Famer Taylor Dayne ("Tell It to My Heart"), unmasked as the red-white-and-blue-spangled Popcorn.
STRAHAN CHECKS IN. "Good Morning America" co-anchor Michael Strahan, whose bout with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has kept him off the show since Jan. 25, thanked well-wishers in a 2-minute video that aired Wednesday. "I just want to let you know I do feel a lot better and I'm just thankful to be on the side of it that I am," said the Pro Football Hall of Famer, 49.
Strahan noted that while he had worn a mask, washed his hands frequently and followed all the usual precautions, "It just goes to show me that it takes more than just you as an individual. Everybody has to do it so that we help out each other, because it's more than just about you. It's about the people you're around and fellow human beings. So protect yourself and by doing that you're going to protect others. You don't want COVID," he warned. "You don't want to have to go through everything that it brings with it."