Statement from MBC, Fremantle and TRK Ukraine

Published Fr, 30 October, 13:47

FRAPA has confirmed through an analysis our concerns over the incorporation by 1+1 of key elements of The Masked Singer into their version of Mysteries in the Spotlight (broadcasting in Ukraine as Maskarad). The report issued by FRAPA reports “striking similarities” between the two formats and has concluded that they are 73% similar. All parties involved have been informed of the report, and we hope that now armed with this information, 1+1 will stop transmitting this programme and return to making a genuine version of Mysteries in the Spotlight.”

Logo_UKRAINA

ENDS

Notes

The full report is available to media upon request to FRAPA.

Background

1+1 are currently broadcasting Maskarad, a show which features masked singers competing in front of celebrity panellists. Fremantle distributes the official The Masked Singer format in Ukraine on behalf of MBC, and licensed TRK Ukraine to make a local version of the format.

Fremantle had offered Ukrainian rights of The Masked Singer to 1+1, but they were ultimately outbid by TRK Ukraine, whose own version of The Masked Singer is due to air in early 2021. 1+1 have claimed that Maskarad is an adaptation of Romanian format Mysteries in the Spotlight, owned by Romanian broadcaster Antena. However, Fremantle have noted that almost all of the “striking similarities” that FRAPA (Format Recognition and Protection Association) set out in their report are not elements of the format of Mysteries in the Spotlight as originally created by Antena.

MBC (owner of the global hit format The Masked Singer) Fremantle and Ukrainian broadcaster TRK Ukraine have reached out to 1+1 on numerous occasions, all attempts to discuss the matter directly have been ignored.  Fremantle asked FRAPA as the association dedicated to the protection and promotion of formats to launch an investigation.

FRAPA is the international format industry association dedicated to the protection and promotion of formats. Its members include format creators, producers, distributors, broadcasters and organizations with a commercial interest in the format business. The analysis is a FRAPA service in which two formats are compared following a strict methodology and procedure in order to deliver the best and most neutral expert opinion in the format industry.

Their report has concluded that there were “striking similarities” and that they were 73% identical.

Fremantle, MBC and TRK continue to dispute the 1+1 Maskarad show and are taking legal advice as to what sanctions would be available to them in Ukraine.

From Antena’s original format description, the key elements of Mysteries in the Spotlight are:

- Two teams of well know personalities compete to guess the celebrities who are hiding behind masks.

- The acts performed by the masked celebrities are extremely varied, from stand up comedy and circus to music, theatre, dance, pantomime.

- The acts are included in scenes which reproduce through sets, costumes, music, pictures and screenplay, various situations: a historical period (eg. Ancient Rome), a famous film (eg. Star Wars), a place in the world (eg. North Pole) or other moments / places / situations known by most people.

- Each episode contains three scenes, and each scene contains two masked celebrities, helped by secondary characters, dancers, actors or special guests.

- The host provides the teams with clues about the celebrities behind the masks through a quiz game.

- The celebrities all unmask at the end of each scene.

- The team which correctly guesses the most masks is declared the winner of the episode and donates the prize money to a charity of its choice.

While Maskarad retains the element of two teams of personalities guessing the identity of masked celebrities, almost all of the other elements have been changed.

The similarities between the formats noted in the FRAPA Report include:

- The masked celebrities performing solo

- Almost all the celebrities only sing, although one in the first episode just dances

- Contestants giving clues to their identity in brief VT segments in digitally altered voices;

- The panels chatting between themselves making guesses as to the identity of the celebrity without locking in a choice;

- Each episode featuring a finale where one celebrity unmasks and the others all continue in the series;

The FRAPA report also noted the similarities in design, staging and colour scheme between Maskarad and the Russian version of The Masked Singer, which it used for comparison.

The main difference between the formats, as noted by FRAPA, is that Maskarad involves competition between two panels, while The Masked Singer only has one. They also noted some smaller additions, like the digital sidekick of the host and the lip-synch battle between the teams of personalities to decide who gets to choose the celebrity that unmasks.

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