Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC
What's Sean Hayes been up to since his daffy days as Jack on Will & Grace? Acting in a couple of movies. Stealing scenes in sitcom guest spots (30 Rock, Up All Night, Smash, etc.). And hosting game nights for his long list of Hollywood A-list friends.
Oh, and also, he's turned that third activity into a TV show, called Hollywood Game Night (premiering Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC). The premise: Six celebrities and two regular people play pop cultural trivia games in a cocktail party-like setting. Glee star Jane Lynch plays Alex Trebek. (Picture Trebek as a vivacious female comedienne with a biting wit.) Watch a sneak peek here:
The first -- and most astounding -- thing you may have noticed: These are actual, recognizable, real celebrities. Unlike most of the Dancing with the Stars roster, you don't have to rack your brain wondering, "How do I know him/her?" The contestants in the first episode include: Martin Short, Alyson Hannigan, Kristen Bell, Daniel Dae Kim, Lisa Kudrow and Matthew Perry. And previews for future episodes boast many more prime time stars.
There are three big names and one non-famous person per team, playing games like Hollywood-themed Password and Charades. In one contest, each team has to put a celebrity's six red-carpet photos in chronological order. Contestants can win up to $25,000, with the celebs giving their winnings to charity. Like all game nights, the fast action gets people jazzed up and/or frazzled. (Plus, Jane serves wine.) And of course, when you have someone like Martin Short in the mix, the excitement rises to a whole new level.
Will the show strike a chord with TV audiences? It seems likely. With six stars, plus Lynch, there's got to be someone on each panel that viewers will tune in to see. Plus, it's easier to draw eyeballs in the summer, when peoples' favorite shows are on hiatus. And now that you know about Sean Hayes' raucous game nights, aren't you glad to finally be invited?
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.