ITV is reportedly set for a Saturday night ratings battle as their hit show The Masked Dancer will go head-to-head with the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing this year.
The schedule clash will mean The Masked Dancer judge Oti Mabuse, 31, will be pit against her sister Motsi, 41, who is a panelist on Strictly.
Oti – who is currently fronting ITV’s musical dating show Romeo & Duet – announced she was leaving Strictly as a professional dancer in February this year, and she will return to The Masked Dancer as a judge for the second series this autumn while Strictly comes back for its 20th series.
War: ITV is set for a Saturday night ratings battle as their hit show The Masked Dancer will go head-to-head with the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing this year (The Masked Dancer judge Oti Mabuse pictured)
A TV insider told The Sun: ‘This is a real fight for dominance of Saturday night ratings — and having Oti on the other side will really rub salt in the Beeb’s wounds.
‘It’s the kind of clash that hasn’t been seen in four years, back when ITV’s The X Factor last aired and used to compete with Strictly every week.
‘ITV has a brand that is a tried-and-tested ratings winner again — but up to now it hasn’t been pitched directly against Strictly.
Clash: The schedule clash will mean The Masked Dancer judge Oti Mabuse, 31, will be pit against her sister Motsi, 41 (pictured), who is a panelist on Strictly
‘But after a successful run of The Masked Dancer over a week last year, bosses clearly feel confident enough to let the two dance contests go head-to-head.’
The signing means Oti, who also appeared as a judge on the last series of Dancing On Ice, is on board with ITV even though she hinted this week that she could make a return to Strictly in the future.
MailOnline has contacted ITV and the BBC, as well as representatives for both Oti and Motsi for comment.
All stars: Motsi (right) is a judge on Strictly alongside (L-R) Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke and Revel Horwood, with Oti previously a professional dancer in the show
On show: Oti (second right) announced she was leaving Strictly as a professional in February this year, and she will return to The Masked Dancer (pictured) as a judge for the second series
Speaking of her return as a judge for the upcoming series of The Masked Singer, Oti said: ‘I love being a part of the show. It was such a highlight.
‘I take my hat off to the celebrities — they make dancing in those huge but wonderful costumes look effortless. I’m so excited to see this year’s characters.’
It comes after Oti hinted this week that she may have changed her mind about returning to Strictly Come Dancing.
In a new interview with WalesOnline, the professional dancer said: ‘Strictly has been everything to me and has given me this amazing platform that I have.
U-turn: It comes after it appeared Oti may have changed her mind after she hinted that she could be returning to Strictly Come Dancing after quitting in February
‘No, I’m not done. It still has a place in my heart.’
MailOnline contacted reps for Oti and Strictly Come Dancing for comment.
The U-turn comes as her new show, Romeo and Duet, in which she made her presenting debut divided viewers.
Many fans took to Twitter to criticise the dating show and question why Oti had left Strictly.
Exit: She left Strictly after winning the Glitterball trophy in two consecutive years with Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher, 37, and comedian Bill Bailey, 56 (Pictured in 2020 with Bill as they won series 18)
One said: ‘#romeoandduet is the worst tv I have seen in years. @otimabuse it saddens me you have left #StrictlyComeDancing for this twaddle.’
Another agreed, writing: ‘It’s a shame that #RomeoAndDuet sucks salt, as Oti Mabuse is very likeable, but maybe this kind of forgettable, puff TV show isn’t the right vehicle for her.’
A third echoed: ‘Oti Mabuse desreves so much better that #RomeoAndDuet’.
Fans reaction: Oti has recently become a hit with ITV viewers but fans were left disappointed with her latest endeavour
In February, Oti took to Instagram where she confirmed that she wouldn’t be returning to the BBC One dance show after seven years.
It is said she wanted to pursue other TV opportunities having established herself as a talent show judge with roles on ITV’s The Masked Dancer and the current series of Dancing On Ice.
She left Strictly after winning the Glitterball trophy in two consecutive years with Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher, 37, and comedian Bill Bailey, 56.
Grateful: In a new interview with WalesOnline , the professional dancer, 31, said: ‘Strictly has been everything to me and has given me this amazing platform that I have’
Oti shared a selection of photographs highlighting her time on Strictly, with snaps of herself alongside her celebrity partners, and a group shot from the latest series.
She captioned the post: ‘Never easy to say goodbye ♥️ I have been part of the most amazing TV show, Strictly Come Dancing for the past seven years and it has been an incredible time.
‘Lifting the glitter ball twice and having the best journey with all my celebrities, but also meeting and working with the best team, crew, producers, celebs and incredible professional dancers!
‘You are my family and I adore you all forever. Thank you @sarahjamesface @jack.will.g and @jasongilkison for truly believing in me.
‘I’m honestly so grateful to The BBC and will always remember that Strictly and BBC brought me to the UK – which I now call home and I have learnt and grown so much. Thank You from the bottom of my heart.
‘I can’t put into words how difficult this decision has been, but I have decided not to return for the next series.
‘Dance will always be my first love and to everyone, my family especially, friends, strictly fans and judges who have been my support throughout my strictly journey, thank you for being incredible!
‘You are irreplaceable in my heart and have made everyday unforgettable! I love you. I will always Keeeep Dancing! and I will never forget my amazing Strictly experience! Lots of Love Oti xxx.’
Goodbye! Oti shared a selection of photographs highlighting her time on Strictly, with snaps of herself alongside her celebrity partners, and a group shot from the latest series