Carrie Ann Inaba Has a Lot to Say About Tyra Banks New Gig on ‘DWTS’

Carrie Ann Inaba Dancing With the Stars
ABC/Eric McCandless

Move over, Ryan Seacrest. The busiest person in show biz is Carrie Ann Inaba, who’s juggling two roles on live TV. By day, she’s a host on The Talk and, on Monday nights, she watching out for pesky lifts on the ballroom floor as a judge on Dancing With the Stars.

TV Insider was among a small group of reporters who caught up with Inaba after the show on October 12 in which Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas, Desperate Housewives) and his pro partner Sharna Burgess were eliminated. Inaba chatted about ’80s night, how host Tyra Banks is doing on DWTS, if there will be a fifth host joining the table at The Talk, and much more.

On the glitz and glam of this season’s DWTS

“Tyra has been inspiring me in a way to have a lot more fun getting dressed up for the show. We got the memo: ‘Met Gala meets ballroom dancing.’ … I’ve been doing the show for 29 seasons so, it’s nice to have a little bit of a change.”

On what she misses about her music-heavy high school days

“(Beat.) My age. I was in high school! Those days we’re fun! The ’80s were loud, can we just say? I do miss the music. … I mean, look at [the] music choices: Run DNC, Kajagoogoo, Cyndi Lauper and Tiffany.  There’s just so many styles of music.”

On old friends, and Tyra’s ‘amazing energy’

“I miss seeing Tom and Erin, of course, because we’re like family. [But] I do think Tyra’s brought really amazing energy. It’s been controversial, yes, but she has an excitement to her that is hard to put into words and that’s what makes people want to tune in. She’s so passionate about what she does. And I’m loving the fact that she’s bringing this fashion game to the show. … Dancing With the Stars is a huge show and it is not easy for any of us. She’s done an amazing job and has taken it in her own direction.”

Tyra Banks Dancing With the Stars

ABC/Eric McCandless

On whether she relates to Tyra’s situation after stepping into a new role herself  at The Talk

“That’s such a great question. That’s probably why I have so much compassion for Tyra. I joined The Talk during a very tumultuous time. Julie [Chen, former host of The Talk] had left. … It was hard because Julie’s beloved. I love Julie Chen. She was so gracious in the way she allowed me to step into her shoes. She said, ‘I would love to see you there, my Asian sister.’ At the beginning of [my first] season she sent me roses as a good luck and best wishes. … This business is what it is. It’s fickle. We all know that our time is limited so, wherever we are we might as well just have fun and support one another. I support Tyra 100 percent.”

On when things clicked at the The Talk, and which hosts supported her

“I’ve always felt supported by the other women at The Talk. Sharon [Osbourne] and Sheryl [Underwood] and Eve, and Marie [Osmond] when she was there, and Sarah [Gilbert] – everyone has always been supportive. … There’s this bond that’s hard to describe.”

On how The Talk has changed her

“I feel like I’ve become a better woman because I’m in the company of strong women and we really do help each other. [After the show on October 12] we were all saying, ‘I love it here!’ It’s so fun to go to work. We’re just so happy that we get to go to work and we’re grateful because we know a lot of people don’t have work right now. We want to bring joy to people’s lives.”

On promoting an ABC show (DWTS) on CBS (The Talk)

“I’m very grateful to both ABC and Viacom/CBS because they’ve been very supportive of cross-promotion and that is not [always] the norm. … Last season, we brought all the ladies of The Talk to Dancing With the Stars and they gave us a shout out. On The Talk, we talked to [One Day at a Time’s] Rita Moreno about [series star] Justine Machado [who’s competing on DWTS].”

On a fifth host possibly joining the table at The Talk

“I don’t know of any fifth [host] joining The Talk. I think right now we’re happy with how it’s going. It feels really, really great.”

The Talk Carrie Ann Inaba

Sonja Flemming/CBS

On working and hugging in a COVID-19 world

“We’re all back working and COVID is still happening. … Dancing With the Stars and The Talk are both handling it beautifully. There are subtle differences, but the important thing is that everyone has a ‘safety first’ approach. Sometimes things take a little longer because we have to stay six feet away. We can’t walk near each other. We can’t hug each other. There’s a lot of things we can’t do because of COVID.”

On both shows premiering so close to each other

Dancing With the Stars premiered a week before The Talk did. I’m so grateful for that because we were originally going to premiere the same week and that was going to be difficult. The truth is, both shows had big changes [both behind the scenes and on-camera] and, on top of that, there are COVID precautions.”

On Bruno Tonioli getting ‘booed’ (via sound effects)

“Our goal is to try to give people at home the experience of life before COVID so that they can just enjoy the show. The truth is we do get booed so, we wanted to make sure that everybody had that real experience. There are more lights because we don’t have an audience, but I think the producers and the crew have done an incredible job of creating an environment where you can almost forget that.”

On someday recording an album and singing again

“I love singing and the truth is, at some point, I’m hoping The Talk will allow me to sing. … When I was a pop star in Japan a long time ago, it was a career that didn’t go the way I wanted it to. It would be nice [to sing again]. The Talk is about uplifting people, sharing our authentic journeys, so it would be a great opportunity for me to sing. But not yet. Let’s get through Dancing With the Stars first!”

The Talk, Weekdays, CBS

Dancing With the Stars, Mondays, 8/7c, ABC