Jamie Foxx jumped at the opportunity to return to TV because he was jealous of the small screen success of stars like Ll Cool J and Jennifer Lopez.
The Ray actor/singer is fronting new music-based game show Beat Shazam, in which contestants have to guess the name of a hit tune before the answer shows up on song identification app Shazam.
Jamie, who got his start on 1990s comedy series Roc and In Living Color, admits he was eager to get back to his small screen roots after watching his pals LL Cool J, Lopez, Kevin Hart, and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson all score hits on TV with their various projects.
“What it was is that everybody has shows – J.Lo has a show (police drama Shades of Blue), Kevin Hart has a show (reality spoof Real Husbands of Hollywood), The Rock has a show (sports drama Ballers)…,” Jamie tells Billboard.com of what drew him to Beat Shazam. “You’ve got to look at LL Cool J’s show (celebrity miming contest Lip Sync Battle), you’ve got all these different shows that are out there. Everybody’s got a show. I was like, I want to be in on it…”
He continues, “And I’ve always been a TV person, right? And we’d been trying to get the show together for the past couple years with (executive producers) Jeff Apploff and Mark Burnett, and it’s a perfect fit for me because I come from music, we dig the fun, I’m always throwing parties, and so that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna have a party atmosphere, but we got a game show in it with the app Shazam, so it all sort of made sense.”
The TV contest, which offers cash prizes to contestants, will begin filming for Fox next month (May17), but preparing for the show was a little more work than Jamie had imagined.
“We did test episodes that have been fun and a little bit tougher than I thought,” he says, revealing he did a few extra hours of “studying” to get to grips with his responsibilities. “I thought I was gonna come in and wing it (improvise), but I actually had to prepare. You really have to know the show, and there’s so many things I didn’t know you couldn’t say (on air)… After all the contestants would leave, I would have my kid and her friends and we’d play the game, so I just keep practicing.”
Beat Shazam, which Foxx will also executive produce, will premiere this summer (17).