Terry Crews new host of 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Sept. 8

HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 11: Actor Terry Crews attends Lionsgate Films' "The Expendables 3" premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on August 11, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 11: Actor Terry Crews attends Lionsgate Films' "The Expendables 3" premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on August 11, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Terry Crews is new host of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire." CREDIT: publicity photo

Credit: Rodney Ho

Terry Crews is new host of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire." CREDIT: publicity photo

Credit: Rodney Ho

Combined ShapeCaption
Terry Crews is new host of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire." CREDIT: publicity photo

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

For many people, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" is a relic of the era of "Who Let the Dogs Out" and "Mambo No. 5" courtesy of Regis Philbin in the  glorious ABC 1999-2002 era.

But for the past 12 years, the show has been in syndication, hosted first by Meredith Vieira and then Cedric the Entertainer for just one season. (Cedric cited the shooting location in Connecticutt and his busy schedule for leaving.)

His replacement? The ever busy Terry Crews, who competes with Steve Harvey and Ryan Seacrest in terms of working his butt off. He starts his stint on Monday, Sept. 8, seen locally at noon on Peachtree TV.

He's already a star of the ensemble Fox sitcom "Brooklyn Nine Nine." And he has been in several films this year including "Expendables 3," "Tyler Perry's Single Mom's Club," "Draft Day" and "Blended."

Somehow, he has managed to squeeze in time to shoot a game show as well, which has the advantage of being flexible. Game shows can shoot a ton of episodes in a short period of time. And the folks at "Brooklyn Nine Nine" were accommodating as well.

"Instead of asking why, I've always asked why not," Crews said in an interview today. "You can always find a reason not to do something. You can always come up with an excuse. I want more. If you want more, you got to do more."

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Terry Crews in Battle Dome many years ago.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Terry Crews in Battle Dome many years ago.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Combined ShapeCaption
Terry Crews in Battle Dome many years ago.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

He said his first job was playing a character T-Money on a syndicated cage fighting show called "Battle Dome" so he's no stranger to the game-show concept though he has never hosted one. "No cage matches on Millionaire," he said. "Maybe we can get all the game show hosts in a cage match. Find out who the real superstar game show host is. Me, Alex Trebek, Pat Sajak enter and see who comes out." (Hmmm... we kind of know how that would end up, eh?)

Ultimately, Crews said, "my job is to be an entertainer. I just want to push myself in every aspect of entertainment. I'm not interested in sticking to one thing. If you're producing a show that goes straight to the smartphone, I want to be part of that."

Amazingly, Crews does say no to projects. He tends to avoid anything he sees as exploitative, especially against women. "I don't mind being a bad buy in a movie but what is the point of what they're trying to do? If it's too mean, I'm not going to do it." He appreciates how "Brooklyn Nine Nine" is fundamentally not mean spirited and characters usually make fun of themselves.

He admires Emmy winning actor Andre Braugher for transitioning to comedy from drama. "People want to put you in a box," he said. "They want to label you, set you aside where they can see you. If you keep doing different things, they can't keep up with you. It makes people nervous. Andre did that. This has been a career changer for him. He's the best thing on the show to be honest. For me doing this game show, it's another example of getting out of that box."

People have advised him frequently against many of his career choices such as the 100-episode TBS run of "Are We There Yet?" "People always say I'm going to kill my career. I'm trying to kill my career every day," he said, presumably jokingly.

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Andre Braugher with Terry Crews on Fox's "Brooklyn Nine Nine." CREDIT: Fox

Credit: Rodney Ho

Andre Braugher with Terry Crews on Fox's "Brooklyn Nine Nine." CREDIT: Fox

Credit: Rodney Ho

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Andre Braugher with Terry Crews on Fox's "Brooklyn Nine Nine." CREDIT: Fox

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

He said he's enjoyed "Millionaire" for the live aspect. He has not done stand up or live theater so getting that immediate feedback is a rush. "I like the live energy," he said.

Does Crews feel pressure to keep up his incredibly buff body? (Yes, those Old Spice ads will live on forever on YouTube.) "I work out for my brain," he said. "I work out two hours a day for me. That's my spa time. That's a necessary wonderful thing. It's not a thing for me to wake up at four in the morning. I've been working out for 30 years since I was 14. It's something I really depend on and need. When I stopped playing football [he was in the NFL in the early 1990s], I kept at it."

Coincidentally, NBC is about to start a new season of "The Biggest Loser" featuring former athletes who are now fat and out of shape. He said he advises a lot of athletes about maintaining workout discipline after their career is over. "Real discipline is because you want to do it, not because a coach is telling you," he said. "Life keeps going on after your athletic career is over."

Crews has certainly made the most of it.

TV preview

"Who Wants to be a Millionaire," noon, weekdays, Peachtree TV