Jason Alexander, who calls himself "a big old host," has emceed shows ranging from charity events to the Emmys. "But it's always daunting," he said. "I'm not a stand-up comic. I studied Shakespeare!"
Alexander -- who made millions laugh in his role as George Costanza in "Seinfeld" -- hosts "A Capitol Fourth" on Tuesday from the West Lawn of the Capitol. It airs locally at 8 p.m. on KCET-TV.
The program will include performances by Stevie Wonder, Michael Bolton, JoJo, Jo Dee Messina, Vanessa Williams and "Sesame Street's" Elmo.
Alexander succeeds Barry Bostwick, who hosted for eight years. In preparing to celebrate the nation's birthday, he has given thoughtful consideration to the varying political points of view among Americans today.
"There's a very wide range of feeling across the country," he said. "And in that difference of opinion, in a nation of conscience and dialogue, we can disagree.
"I'm hoping that we can strike a chord [in the program] that, regardless of where you stand, Americans can continue to honor and celebrate the core of our country's values: independence, democracy and freedom."