EXCLUSIVE | Channel 10 secures America's hottest new reality format THE MASKED SINGER

Some of the impressive costumes from the US version of The Masked Singer  images - FOX

Some of the impressive costumes from the US version of The Masked Singer
images - FOX

After a disastrous start to the 2019-ratings year, Channel 10 is looking to revive its fortunes by commissioning an Australian version of the hottest new reality format in the US, The Masked Singer.

10 is not commenting publicly, but TV Blackbox can exclusively reveal the network has secured the show which is expected to air late in 2019.

The Masked Singer has been the most successful new show to launch in the US in 2019.

The format originally created in South Korea, involves 12 celebrities singing live on stage before a studio audience, while wearing elaborate costumes to hide their identities from both the studio judging panel and home viewers.

Clues are provided each week to help viewers guess the identities of the competitors, with the judges allowed to ask one question of the performers each week. The guessing game has proven to be a viral hit, and helped attract live broadcast viewers back to TV, at a time when consumers are increasingly preferring catch-up.

 The identities of the 12 celebrities are only revealed once they are eliminated from the competition.

Celebrity competitors in the most recent US version included Tori Spelling, La Toya Jackson, Ricki Lake, Terry Bradshaw, T-Pain, Joey Fatone, Donny Osmond and Gladys Knight.

TV Blackbox understands the 10 Network has paid an “exorbitant fee” to secure the Australian rights to the highly sought after format, which is being sold internationally by Warner Bros. One senior TV executive telling this website “10 have plenty of CBS cash to spend, and plenty of timeslots to fill”.

2019 has so far been a horrid year for 10. The primary channel share has fallen to an all-time low, with the network consistently in fourth place behind the ABC and getting dangerously close to SBS levels.

The pressure on the executive team at 10 is intense after Changing Rooms, Sunday Night Takeaway, Ambulance Australia, Show Me The Movie, Hughesy, We Have A Problem, and Pointless have all failed to find an audience. Dancing with the Stars is barely reaching an acceptable level and most alarming, figures for 10 News First and The Project have also taken a substantial dive this year.

The network is now in a holding pattern, waiting for NINE juggernaut Married At First Sight to finish before it can return formats such as Materchef, Have You Been Paying Attention, and Bachelor In Paradise, after Easter.