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Fox Execs Double Down On Controversial The Masked Singer Casting

In April 2022, Fox's "The Masked Singer" sparked backlash among its viewers — and even its own celebrity judges — with the controversial casting of former New York City mayor and President Trump legal advisor Rudy Giuliani as one of the show's secret crooners. Not only did the April 20 revelation cause a major stir, but it also marked season lows in viewership for the reality competition series (via Deadline). 

"With all of the controversy that's surrounding you right now, I think it surprises us all that you're here on 'The Masked Singer,'" host Nick Cannon said to Giuliani during the taping. "Me too," replied the former mayor. 

Back in June 2021, Giuliani lost his law license in New York after a state court ruled that he made "demonstrably false and misleading statements" while attempting to overturn the 2020 election results on behalf of former President Trump (via New York Times). His "Masked Singer" appearance saw him disguised as the contestant Jack in the Box while singing "Bad to the Bone" by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. After unmasking, he claimed that he wanted to show his granddaughter that people should try many things in life. "Even things that are completely unlike you and unlikely," Giuliani said. Judges Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke both wound up walking off set in protest of the appearance. "I'm done," Jeong said before storming away in disgust. 

Looking back on the casting and all the drama it caused, some might expect Fox executives to move into damage-control mode. However, during a media conference call on Monday, May 16, that's actually the exact opposite of what happened. 

Fox execs say they have 'absolutely no regrets' about casting Giuliani

While speaking to members of the media when announcing the network's new fall lineup, Fox Entertainment President of Alternative Entertainment & Specials Rob Wade doubled down on the Rudy Giuliani casting and, in fact, praised it. "Yeah, absolutely no regrets," he told reporters (via NBC News). "The marketing is all about delivering jaw-dropping moments, which is exactly what the casting accomplished." 

Interestingly, if Wade has any regrets, it actually appears he's only disappointed that the final reveal didn't come as more of a shock to viewers. "I suppose my only regret or surprise was obviously the reveal was spoiled [by the press], but kudos to you guys," Wade said. "Just please don't do it again. Thanks a lot." Nearly three full months before Giuliani's dramatic reveal, Deadline reported that the former New York City Mayor was set to appear on the program.

In the days that followed the airing of Giuliani's episode, several media outlets called out his inclusion in various op-eds and columns. "Rudy Giuliani's 'Masked Singer' Turn Is the Show's Worst Decision Yet," reads one Variety headline for a piece written by Daniel D'Addario. "This makes the onetime booking of former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer on ABC's 'Dancing With the Stars' — a decision that show's host criticized — look like a mild misjudgment," opined D'Addario. 

Despite the controversy, Fox execs announced Monday that "The Masked Singer" had been renewed for an eighth season (via Deadline).