It’s a Starry ‘Hollywood Game Night’ for Jane Lynch

Trae Patton/NBC
HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT -- "304" Episode 304 -- Pictured: Jane Lynch (l-r) -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Let the games begin! Hollywood Game Night, the show that pits celebrities against each other in pop-culture-themed challenges, kicks off its third season tonight with more star power and a fresh batch of competitions. “We haven’t changed anything fundamentally just for the sake of changing it, because it works,” host Jane Lynch says. “But coming up with the new games is always tough, and we have more new ones this season than we had games total the first season.”

Additions include a spin on musical chairs called “Casting Couch”; a high-pressure contest titled “Pop Quiz,” where one wrong answer results in a face full of popcorn; and “Song Sung Wrong,” in which Lynch flexes her vocal cords to get contestants to correct commonly misheard lyrics to popular songs. “It’s right in my wheelhouse,” says the former Glee star, who won an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Host last year. “Most of the tunes are from the ’70s and ’80s, which is my era. I couldn’t do anything [by] Katy Perry or Beyoncé.”

As always, the bar is open for all the distinguished guests. Tonight, that includes singer John Legend and his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, as well as Spock himself, Zachary Quinto. Lynch also praises the “civilian” competitors this season, like a 62-year-old grandmother and a pair of school-teachers who duke it out for the $25,000 grand prize. “We’ve had the most charming, delightful bright lights this [time around] who know their pop culture and are not too starstruck to get frozen,” she says.

And while Lynch doesn’t get a chance to play any of the games during tape nights, she does let her talents shine when the cameras are not rolling. “I’m really good at ‘Celebrity,’ if I do say so myself,” she says of the show’s bonus round, where the winning contestant has to correctly identify 10 stars in 90 seconds or less based on clues given by their famous partner. “The key to good ‘Celebrity’ playing is taking the word apart really quickly. I’ve played it at parties and not only am I really great at it, but I’m a little aggressive.”

Hollywood Game Night, Season premiere, Saturday, July 11, 10/9c, NBC