Were 'N Sync heartthrob Joey Fatone's career headed south, we could understand why he signed on to host NBC's Fame (Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET). But since he recently appeared in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, headlined Broadway's Rent and is about to begin work with Justin Timberlake and the boys on their band's fifth album, his emcee gig makes no sense to us. Isn't he just inviting wannabes to make him a has-been?

"Oh, I don't think they'll ever take my job," he tells TV Guide Online with a laugh. "And I think it's nice to give other people the chance to perform. There's room for everyone [in the entertainment biz]. Besides, it's kind of interesting to see these young adults bust their butts doing all the stuff that me and the guys in the group do."

Not that the 26-year-old Brooklyn native is at heart a sadist; he doesn't so much like watching his successors being made to pay... in sweat as he gets a kick out of seeing himself in the show's eager Fame-seekers. "They have a little of that same hunger that we all did when we started the group," he observes. "It's always like, 'I'm going to do the best that I can, because I want to kick everyone's asses in this contest'... that kind of thing."

Despite the ambition that drove him during his salad days, and his myriad accomplishments since then, Fatone isn't sure that his rich voice and fancy footwork would have gotten him even as far as the Fame semifinals. Debbie Allen and Co., he insists, chuckling, "would probably say, 'Next! Thanks a lot for playing.' Who knows?"