Janelle James is heading back to your TV screens in a new way. The Abbott Elementary breakout star is the host of the new game show The Final Straw, which premieres July 10 on ABC. Janelle spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife at ABC’s summer press junket about The Final Straw, and she teased that fans can expect “tension, humor, hijinks, wild characters,” and so much more.
“People going home with either a lot of money or not as much as they thought they’d get. And then also there’s me being hilarious off to the side. So I mean, that’s number one. It’s me,” Janelle quipped.
In The Final Straw, four teams of contestants will compete in an epic battle against gravity and physics as they attempt to remove items from enjoyably themed stacks in the hopes of facing off against The Mega Stack for a chance to win the grand prize of $250,000. Janelle will also be joined onstage by the delightfully mischievous Tipsy the Panda, who is hell-bent on the destruction of the stacks.
Janelle pretty much got free rein as a host. “I really tried to get as much of me in there as I could,” Janelle said. “That was one of the things that drew me to the project. They were like, ‘We want you to do your thing.’ Although I do slip into the game show host speak. You can’t help it. It is what it is. ‘We’ll be right back.’ That’s my favorite.”
The actress also revealed just how she thinks Ava would handle being on The Final Straw. “I mean, of course, she’d love the money aspect,” Janelle told HollywoodLife. “But I think she’d be more concerned about how this appearance can lead to more appearances on perhaps other game shows or a sponsorship of some sort. She’s just concerned about where the where the cameras are not what the prize is.”
As for who from Abbott Elementary would be the best at The Final Straw, Janelle said, “Probably Tyler [James Williams]. He’s so focused in real life and on the show. He’s so focused, and he seems like he would take it very seriously.”
Janelle is currently filming the second season of the breakout hit Abbott Elementary. She teased that fans will “get to see inside certain characters’ homes, so we leave the school here and there” in season 2. When it comes to Ava, who is Abbott’s self-centered principal, Janelle hopes that her character “continues to be horrible.” Abbott Elementary season 2 premieres on September 21.