Jerry O’Connell Says Hosting ‘Pictionary’ Is ‘One of the Toughest Things I’ve Done in My Career’

Pictionary Jerry O'Connell
Courtesy of CBS

Jerry O’Connell is bringing his host charms to new game show Pictionary, based on Mattel’s classic guessing game which involves players putting their best sketches forward to win.

The 30-minute series boasts more than just drawing skills, it also features some famous guests who compete alongside civilian players. So, what brought The Talk co-host to the game show? “My daughters, my wife [Rebecca Romijn], and I played Pictionary on a biweekly basis, and so I’m just at that Pictionary age,” O’Connell shares with TV Insider. “I’m in the middle of that generational pull, and when they said, ‘We need a host for this show,’ I was like, ‘Sign me up!’

The longtime host and actor has a personal connection to the game, sharing that over the holidays, he and his wife and children playswith his parents and his in-laws. The stakes are a bit higher in this televised version, though as the host points out, “When you have a game show where money is involved, there are legally binding [rules].”

Pictionary Jerry O'Connell

(Credit: Courtesy of CBS)

As for the format, O’Connell teases, “We start with what we call a quick draw. There’s always a trick. You always think it’s one thing, and then it turns out to be another thing. So you’ve gotta wait a little bit and then you buzz in.”

For the next few rounds, O’Connell reveals that “people bounce back and forth. And that’s where the show sort of lives and breathes.” But it isn’t always about perfection in the game of Pictionary as competitors are trying to make guesses on drawings before the time runs out. “You do not have to be a good artist on Pictionary to do well,” O’Connell assures. “Stick figures are fine. You don’t have to be Leonardo Da Vinci. You don’t have to be Picasso. You don’t have to be Bob Ross.” But he does admit, “it’s fun to see people who are real artists and celebrate them.”

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She'll helm primetime version of the show featuring famous competitors.

Helping the everyday competitors are celebrity guests who O’Connell says “help guide our contestants who come in because this is a new way to play Pictionary. It takes a little bit of a strategy and our celebs are really helpful with that.” Among some of the celebrities stopping by are Jaleel White, Carson Kressley, Melissa Peterman, Colton Dunn, Loni Love, Kate Flannery, Adam Rippon, Amanda Seales, and O’Connell’s wife and actress Rebecca Romijn.

Despite the comfort level of hosting with famous peers and his experience on The Talk, O’Connell says, “nothing prepared me for being a game show host,” adding that the gig is, “one of the toughest things I’ve done in my career.” And although nerves may run high behind the scenes, O’Connell is making the most of this new experience, “I have a lot of fun with it all. I just keep trying to have fun.”

Pictionary, Series Premiere, Monday, September 12, Check your local listings