Leah Remini has many roles — and now she can add game show host to the mix!
In this week's issue of PEOPLE, the Emmy-winning producer and bestselling author, 50, opens up about her newest role as host for PEOPLE Puzzler — PEOPLE's new competition series that tests contestants' pop culture knowledge as they solve crossword puzzles and vie to win $10,000 — why she decided to join, and what she's looking forward to the most in 2021.
"I was literally like, 'Yes,'" the King of Queens actress says of her reaction when first asked to hop on board as host. "[I was] dealing with the aftermath of producing and hosting my A&E documentary series on Scientology, on top of it being a very dark time in our country. So when something like this comes along, I feel like it's a blessing. I just love connecting with people."
While Remini admits she didn't know "nine out of 10" of the crossword questions that contestants were quizzed about, she says she had a fun time filming because of the connection she was able to make with the players.
"I really do love the PEOPLE puzzles because it's pop culture and it's fun facts," she says. "That's what the show is based on. The most exciting time was walking out on stage and seeing the contestants. I love people. People who know me know that I would prefer to go to your family's barbecue than any Hollywood event."
These days, Remini keeps the party going with intense game nights at her home with husband Angelo Pagan and her 16-year-old daughter, Sofia Bella.
"Well, [there's] lots of fighting," she jokes. "I'm a rule person in a lot of ways. If there are rules, then I feel like we need to abide by them, especially if the rules would help me to win!"
And when it comes to the year ahead, Remini says she's anticipating — and hopeful of — positive change.
"I'm looking forward to finding a new way," she says. "We can't keep pretending that hatred and bigotry and racism doesn't exist and hasn't existed in this country. We need to start finding a new way."
PEOPLE Puzzler airs weekdays (6 p.m. ET) on Game Show Network.
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