Carrie Ann Inaba
Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba is adding another title to her already lengthy résumé: host. The one-time Fly Girl will team up with Bachelorette host Chris Harrison to anchor TV Guide Network's red carpet coverage, which kicks off at the Emmys on Sept. 20. "I'm excited for the opportunity for the people at home, who know me as this judge on Dancing with the Stars, to see me in a different light on the red carpet," Inaba tells TVGuide.com. "You live once and I believe in taking on opportunities and trying new things." See what else Inaba has to say about her new gig, who she wants to see on Dancing next season and more.
TVGuide.com: You and Chris hosted the American Music Awards preshow last year. Had you hosted anything before that?
Inaba: No. That was the first time and there wasn't a lot of rehearsal time. It was just like, "Let's just do this!" It was a new show at the time for ABC. It was the first time I got to work with Chris Harrison and we have really great chemistry. It was really easy and natural. I think we have a mutual respect for each other and there's a genuine bond. I like him and he genuinely likes me, and it's just easygoing. I think that will read well. I'm very honored to be working with him.
TVGuide.com: You've got Dancing coming up and you're producing the Broadway ballroom show Burn the Floor. Why did you decide to add hosting to the résumé?
Inaba: TV Guide Network's a really exciting place to be right now. There are a lot of changes and it's expanding and I'm excited to be a part of that. For me, I'm always looking for ways to expand myself as a person and to build my career. To have that opportunity to get out there and meet all those wonderfully talented and successful artists on the red carpet, I don't know if anyone could not be excited about that. Like, that's going to be my job? Uh, OK! [Laughs] My first job on Dancing with the Stars is pretty good... but my second job is pretty great too!
TVGuide.com: Is there anyone you're dying to meet on the red carpet?
Inaba: I would love to meet Ron Howard. I've been a huge fan of his since Happy Days. Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep. There are so many up-and-coming actors and actresses I would love to meet as well and just kind of hear what makes them tick and get to know them as people.
TVGuide.com: The Emmys are the day before the three-night Dancing premiere. Where are you going to find the energy for all four nights?
Inaba: I took the summer off in preparation! [Laughs] I'll take my vitamins and minerals, I'll get lots of sleep and I'll make sure I'll eat right so I'll be fine. I think for something like that, just the excitement of it all will keep me going.
TVGuide.com: Dancing and Tom Bergeron are up for Emmys again. How do you gauge their chances of winning?
Inaba: Well, The Amazing Race seems to do pretty well there! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Yeah, it's going for its seventh straight win. Can you take it down?
Inaba: Is it No. 7 already? Maybe they'll have an unlucky No. 7 and Dancing with the Stars will take it. All that matters is that our show's recognized by people. I think reality is gaining recognition and respect, and that's very important. Although reality is fairly a newcomer, it's beginning to be taken seriously as a genre of television. I think that means a lot to us who work in reality. I've been in reality television basically for almost 20 years. Whoever wins, it's a celebration of our whole genre.
TVGuide.com: Have you heard any casting scoop for next season?
Inaba: They're tight-lipped! Us three judges, we don't find out about it until we read it online. They don't even tell us sometimes! ... That's good because it keeps us neutral. The less we know about the people, the better for us. I personally like not knowing. I get excited too.
TVGuide.com: Karina Smirnoff says she wants Keanu Reeves to come on, so who do you want to come on?
Inaba: Oh, Keanu Reeves, that's a good one! I like the tennis player — Roger Federer. I think he'll be good. I would love to see someone like Paris Hilton do the show because she's all about that glam thing. Khloe Kardashian. We had Kim on before and I think Khloe's a bit more feisty than Kim. She was very nervous and she's very shy. It was nice for America to see that side of her. I'd love to see Victoria Beckham. I love being surprised. People like Steve-O and Steve Wozniak last year, Ty Murray, were great surprises for me because they brought out a whole different side of the show.
TVGuide.com: A lot of fans want Ty back in some capacity and I think he'd be great on the DanceCenter panel. You have to pitch that to someone.
Inaba: Oh, he would be so fantastic! I'll definitely tell the producers. He'd be so great. He's so cute. He's such an old-fashioned, genuine good guy. He's such a guy's guy, innocent, sweet, pure, chivalrous. He just won everybody's heart.
TVGuide.com: The past three winners have been female. Is it time for a guy to win again?
Inaba: To me, it doesn't matter, whether it's male or female, who wins. Whoever's the most improved, whoever brings out the best dancing wins. We've seen in the past sometimes the person we think is going to win doesn't win. Gilles [Marini] did really good, but then he did that strange Flashdance dance. But he still had a great season and wonderful things are happening for him. So it doesn't matter who ends up the winner except that they get to take home the awesome Mirrorball trophy! I hear they fall apart. Drew Lachey always tells me, "That thing, it's not that well-built." [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: How did you get involved with Burn the Floor?
Inaba: Oh, I'm so proud of that. I've been a fan of Burn the Floor since its inception in '97. The founder of the company approached me recently and they flew me out to San Francisco to see it live and... I just fell in love with the whole production. There was a lot of red tape to go through. ... Every once in a while you come across a project that just touches your heart. It reminded me of the very first show I was in that I had self-produced with my friend. I love being part of the creative team and making suggestions, like bringing in celebrity guest stars. We have so many wonderful dancers on Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance that need to be featured outside of these shows. We just had our previews and we are the first show ever on Broadway, before we have our official opening, to have three curtain calls. When you go see this show, you'll love it. There's something so beautiful about it.
TVGuide.com: Would you ever star in it?
Inaba: Yeah, maybe 20 years ago! [Laughs] No, I'm very happy behind the scenes. The show is fine the way it is. I just love being in a place where I can support them and help them take it to the next level.
TVGuide.com: You guest-starred in Hannah Montana earlier this year, so is more acting in the cards?
Inaba: You know, I would love to do comedy. I love comedy. My role on Dancing with the Stars is serious. I'm a judge. I'm supposed to watch and do my job, but I would love to do more comedy things. Hopefully it will come because as you can tell, I like to embark on new adventures. So if it comes my way, I'll be there! It's a good time in my life and I'm really grateful.