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Niecy Nash on ‘The Rookie’ spinoff, ‘Don’t Forget the Lyrics,’ and marriage

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Emmy nominee Niecy Nash is all over primetime: she’s currently hosting the Fox game show “Don’t Forget The Lyrics” and is gearing up to star in a spinoff of the ABC hit, “The Rookie.” 

“We were coming out of such a tough time, with the pandemic and everything, and I thought, ‘What a great way to give people bags of money for just doing what they do driving in the car on the way to work, or in the shower,’” Nash, 52, told The Post about “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.”

Airing Mondays (8 p.m.), the series follows contestants as they test their musical memories for the chance to win $1 million in prize money. For Nash, who married musician Jessica Betts in 2020, there was also an extra element that appealed to her.

“My better half was able to be in the [the ‘Don’t Forget The Lyrics’] band, and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, I get to flirt while I’m at work? This is the dream!,’” Nash said. “We had a good time, and we don’t get tired of being around each other. You ride in the car together going to work, then you work together all day. Some people would say, ‘Enough already,’ but not me, I’m like, ‘Give me more!’ ”

Niecy Nash stands onstage with a microphone.
Niecy Nash hosting, “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.”

This is the third iteration of “Don’t Forget the Lyrics,” which aired from 2007-2009 (Fox) with host Wayne Brady and ran in syndication (2010-2011) with Mark McGrath handling the hosting chores. Nash said she was a fan of the show before she got her turn as the host, but she’s not sure how well she would do as a contestant.

“My genre would be ’90s R&B, I think I could do pretty well at that. The other categories, not so much,” she said. “And in terms of specific songs, I don’t know, because one of my favorite songs is ‘Pony,’ the one that they played in the ‘Magic Mike’ soundtrack. And I thought I knew all the lyrics to that one and I just found out I was singing that song wrong for years. So, you just never can tell.”

Niecy Nash laughs onstage with a microphone.
Niecy Nash with contestant Fletch on “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.”
Niecy Nash stands with a woman onstage, smiling.
Niecy Nash with contestant Nicole on “Don’t Forget The Lyrics.”

Nash, who’s been an industry mainstay for years (“Reno 911!,” HBO’s “Getting On”) was a regular for all four seasons of TNT’s “Claws” and snared an Emmy nomination for her role in Ava DuVernay’s 2019 miniseries, “When They See Us.”

“For some people, the journey is greater later, and I guess I’m just one of those people,” she said. “I am having a very good time. I am indeed living my best life, and it doesn’t matter that it happened later in life – it just matters that it happened.”

It’s also an area in which she can relate to her character on “The Rookie: Feds,” a spinoff from ABC’s “The Rookie,” where Nash played Simone Clark in Season 4.

Airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. this fall, “The Rookie: Feds” will follow Simone, a single mom and the oldest rookie training for a role in the FBI. 

Nathan Fillion and Niecy Nash hold flashlights.
Nathan Fillion as John Nolan and Niecy Nash as Simone Clark on “The Rookie” Season 4’s backdoor pilot to the spinoff series.
ABC via Getty Images

“Simone Clark was experiencing what you’d call ‘a dream deferred.’ She never lost sight of it, though,” said Nash. “And so, at 48 years old, she has a small window of time to complete the FBI training academy, and says, ‘I’m going to go for my dream.’ Her journey is going to be so much fun to watch. It’s that journey where you course-correct and chart a new experience but you already have so much life experience. She gets into a lot of trouble, because there’s two ways of doing things — the FBI way and the Simone Clark way — and they’re not the same.

“But she gets out of the trouble because she still ends up getting it done.”

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