Hanakana to Voice Role in NPR Quiz Show

Hanakana NPR Wait Wait

CHICAGO – With the coming retirement of Carl Kasell from NPR News’ quiz show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me this spring, the producers of the program have reached an agreement to recruit Hanazawa Kana to fill the role of Official Judge and Scorekeeper.

“We wanted someone well known for their voice to fill this iconic position, so we went for someone whose voice is everywhere,” Wait Wait… host Peter Sagal said. “We were just as shocked as anyone when she decided to say yes.”

Kasell will stick around as Scorekeeper Emeritus and continue to record the voicemail message for some winners of games on the show, contestants will have the option of having it recorded by Hanazawa.

“I plan on calling in to the show regularly now that Hanakana will be on the show,” said David Martinez, a fan of Hanazawa referring to the actress’s nickname. “It also means I will have to keep up with what’s happening in the world so I have a chance of winning.”

There are concerns that naming the Japanese voice actress into a role where she will be required to speak English. That matters little when it comes down to shows on public radio.

“The financial support we’ve received from listeners after this announcement is unparalleled,” said Chicago Public Radio’s Chief Financial Officer Donna Moore. “We should have enough to pay episodes of This American Life to take Ira (Glass) to his retirement.”

It is in this context that the 25-year-old voice actress from Tokyo moves into a most unexpected role of all for her career.


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