Lisa Rinna courtesy TV Guide Channel Lisa Rinna courtesy TV Guide Channel

TV star Lisa Rinna, of Melrose Place and Dancing with the Stars fame, has signed an exclusive, multi-year contract with TV Guide Channel as a red-carpet host and fashion expert, replacing mother-daughter duo Joan and Melissa Rivers. Rinna - who is slated to star opposite her husband, fellow DWTS alum Harry Hamlin in the Broadway smash Chicago this summer - will make her TV Guide Channel debut this September at the 2007 Emmy Awards. In addition to her acting gigs, Rinna is a well known TV personality and pundit who hosted the hair-raising Oxygen TV series Tease and cohosted SOAPnet's Soap Talk. In her new role at TV Guide Channel, she will host five red carpet pre-shows and headline five fashion recaps annually. - Raven Snook

UPDATE: Lisa Rinna Speaks Out on Host Swap

As a former soap star, Lisa Rinna is no stranger to abrupt recasts. In this candid interview with TVGuide.com's Daniel R. Coleridge, she shares her feelings on replacing the Riverses and starting an exciting new chapter in her showbiz career.

TVGuide.com: Today's announcement came as bittersweet news because it's kind of a shocker that Joan and Melissa are no longer with TV Guide Channel. What would you like to say about it, Lisa?
Lisa Rinna:
I have always been a huge fan of Joan and Melissa Rivers. Joan really started this whole red carpet phenomenon! I remember going to the Oscars and waiting in line to talk to Joan Rivers. Because that's what you did. Everybody wanted to talk to her. I am so honored to even be trying to step into the shoes that she created. I can never be Joan. I will never try to be her. She is a comedian and she's brilliant. I will just come in and be Lisa Rinna. You never want to be the one that takes over where somebody else was, but I guess we've all been in the same position. It just happens in this business. Everything happens for a reason.... Obviously, they were meant to go and do something else at this time.

TVGuide.com: Once again, you and your Soap Talk co-host Ty Treadway are Daytime Emmy nominees for outstanding talk show host. Interesting timing?
Rinna:
Yeah, how about that? [ Laughs] We were cancelled in July, so I find it quite ironic that one would get nominated for an Emmy for a show that was cancelled. Thank God it did end because look at all the great stuff I get to do now! Things happen for a reason; that's just always the way I've lived my life. I think it's all so cool and I'm honored to be able to step into this [TV Guide Channel job] and bring my love of fashion and my excitement for hosting. This has all been such a brilliant ride for me.

TVGuide.com: At last year's Daytime Emmys, you told me you had no prayer of winning. What about this year?
Rinna:
It's even higher stakes this year, so I feel the exact same way. Not only do you have Ellen nominated, you have Rachael Ray and Tyra! [ Laughs] It will again be an honor to be nominated.

TVGuide.com: So tell me about the little show you're doing with your husband, Harry Hamlin.
Rinna:
I'm doing Chicago on Broadway, baby, from June 19-July 29. Isn't that cool? I am playing Roxie Hart. Harry is playing Billy Flynn. In the movie, Renee Zellweger played Roxie and Richard Gere played Billy. There's been a bevy of Roxies on Broadway - everyone from Brooke Shields to Chita Rivera to Melanie Griffith. It is one of the great roles for a woman.

TVGuide.com: Sounds like you're in great company with this awesome part.
Rinna:
Are you kidding me? She's a child in many ways, she's a murderess, she's a celebrity-seeking fiend. I can certainly relate to all! [ Laughs] She's loveable and a great, great character.

TVGuide.com: You'll have to be a celebrity-seeking fiend on the red carpet, too. Are you nervous at all about asking stars the tough questions for TV Guide Channel?
Rinna:
I've had a taste of that. I worked for Entertainment Tonight last year covering Dancing with the Stars, and I did a lot of other stuff for them. I also did stuff for Access Hollywood. I will be doing it the Lisa Rinna way. A lot of [red-carpet reporters] don't walk the walk. They're on one side and the celebrities are on the other. I can relate to celebrities in a human way because I've walked the red carpet and lived that life.