As Glee’s Sue Sylvester, Jane Lynch snagged an Emmy and rocked TV screens around the world. But with Ryan Murphy’s all-singing, all-dancing juggernaut having come to a stop, Lynch launched herself into the reality show category, hosting Hollywood Game Night on NBC. Her successful stint won her a second Emmy, but Lynch wasn’t working with any thought of awards season in mind. She says, “It hit me by surprise, because you’re doing your work and then all of a sudden they might give you an award.”

But Lynch certainly isn’t oblivious to the significance of her Emmy win. Of last year’s Emmys, she says, “it was completely unexpected, getting the nomination and then winning was just such a joy. It was a big deal. It made me very, very happy.”

Hollywood Game Night revisits old-school gameshow style with its panel of celebrity guests mixed with everyday people and a series of classic, themed competition rounds.

“One of the fun things is that you have celebrities acting like normal people,” Lynch says, “showing that they are competitive and fun and they know how to have a party. You throw in a civilian and that’s always fun because the audience can put themselves in the place of the civilian.”

Jane Lynch on Hollywood Game Night
“it was completely unexpected,” Lynch says of her Emmy win last year for hosting Hollywood Game Night.
Photograph by Trae Patton

Another key to the show’s success is the fun, light subject matter. As Lynch says, “you just have to read your People magazine. They’re not hard games, but they sure are fun.”

The show was initially inspired by real-life game nights hosted by executive producer Sean Hayes–game nights Lynch herself attended.

“They’re epic,” she says. “He has a big house and he moves from room to room, and every room has a different game that he’s made up and it’s very competitive, very cutthroat. I mean you can be eaten alive at these things. He had the brilliant idea, ‘let’s put this on TV’ and it really works.”

Season 3 is set to air July 7th and will see new celebrity guests on the panel, including Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Quinto and Joe Jonas, as well as some returning stars.

Nate Berkus comes back,” Lynch says. “Zachary Levi and Seth Green…I did get Jesse Tyler Ferguson and he was fantastic–maybe not the best player, but certainly the most enthusiastic.”

Lynch also has the CBS TV movie Angel From Hell, to be released in November. She jokes, “I’m either (playing) an angel or a crazy homeless person–I’m not sure which.”