Carrie Ann Inaba Gets 'Talk'-ing About Her New Co-Hosting Position

Emily Aslanian
Q&A CBS

After almost 40 appearances as a guest host on CBS daytime series The Talk, Carrie Ann Inaba is taking a permanent seat at the table.

The Dancing With the Stars judge officially joined Sheryl Underwood, Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert and Eve on January 2. (She replaces Julie Chen Moonves, who left in September.)

“Being on the panel with these ladies is such an honor,” Inaba says. “You have to be really true to yourself, and I feel that I’m there now.” We caught up with Inaba during her first week on the job to chat about her aspirations both on and off the show.

You’ve done it all: dancing, acting, singing, judging. Why did you want to lend your voice to The Talk permanently?

Carrie Ann Inaba: From Day 1, I felt a warmth from all the ladies. It’s such a unique situation to sit there with this dynamic group of strong women, and it felt so good that I put the picture of the very first day I was at The Talk [as a guest co-host] on my dream board in my workout room.

What else is on your dream board?

I’ve got some projects that I want to produce. I’ve been writing a show for many years. There are certain things about family and love. I’ve got a few more things on my board. Time will tell.

When did this opportunity become a real possibility?

I can’t say the date that it felt like a reality, but it felt like a possibility from the first day. It felt like a good fit.

The Talk

Sheryl Underwood, Carrie Ann Inaba, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, and Eve shown. (Cliff Lipson/CBS)

How did you react when you got the offer?

I cried, and I honestly have to say that it felt like I had crossed the line of a marathon. Since I was 18 years old, I’ve been in live television. I love great sets, and this set is run beautifully and professionally. We don’t always get those opportunities in this business.

What will you bring to the table that’s different from the other hosts?

My goal is to be very open and honest, and I hope that I can share my stories and my life experiences to help other people feel less alone in their own experiences. That’s always my goal in all that I do. Hearing different people’s perspectives and how they deal with it has always helped me, so I’ve always been one to be very open about my own experiences for that reason. I hope that people receive it that way.

And I also hope to learn. I’m sitting with some people that I really respect. I know that I have things to learn from the discussions—being a teacher in some ways, and also then being a student.

Does it feel any different being a regular co-host versus a guest co-host?

I thought maybe it might change. I was worried, ‘When I become a regular will there be any different dynamics that come up?’ But, it’s actually better. It’s kind of hard to believe.

What topics are you most interested in getting to speak about?

I like talking about health, women’s empowerment, the things that we struggle with about being adults and as a single woman, the future of social media and how it’s affecting our society. We’re having a huge surge of wellness and self-care and psychology and philosophy — those are things that really excite me.

In your debut episode, Sheryl challenged you for this year’s Lip Sync War [Underwood’s Prince get-up lost out to Inaba’s Gaga in 2017]. Have you started thinking about the annual Halloween event yet?

It is a challenge. I have been thinking about it actually. But I’m certainly not going to share it. [Laughs]

Has joining the show turned your daily life upside down?

Well, my dog Peanut is a little upset with me! Truthfully, I’m such a homebody. I’ve never had a situation in my life where I’ve had to go somewhere every day. Even when I was a Fly Girl on In Living Color, we were two weeks on, two weeks off. For Dancing With the Stars, it’s 10 days, twice a year. So, this is a very different situation for me, to have a steady job like this. I’ve made my life much more efficient, and I’m loving it.

Will you return to judge Dancing With the Stars in the fall?

I have no plans to change anything. I’m only adding to what’s there. I love my Len [Goodman] and Bruno [Tonioli]!

The Talk, Weekdays, CBS