About a month after word got out that frontrunner/frequent fill-in Inaba had won the derby to replace the wife of ousted CBS CEO Les Moonves’ on the daily talk show, Inaba made her “official” debut today, joining Eve, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood. Throughout the past two seasons, Inaba has appeared as a recurring guest co-host.
“The last few months have been really, really tough on all of us,” Osbourne told Inaba on Wednesday’s broadcast, crediting her with having “brought us together and we love you for that.”
Inaba’s maybe best known serving as a judge on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars for all 27 seasons, since its debut in 2005. As an original judge, she has appeared in every episode to date. Later, she was featured in a spinoff series with fellow judge, Bruno Tonioli, Dance Wars: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann. Inaba began her television career in 1990 as one of the first Asian Americans to perform contemporary dance on national television as one of the Fly Girls of Fox’s In Living Color.
Inaba was Chen’s choice to replace her on the CBS talker, as she made very clear in her taped video announcing her exit, which the show aired in early September to no one’s surprise, shortly after her husband got expelled from CBS Corp.
After paying tribute to each of her on-air colleagues, Chen told that day’s guest host Inaba “In my opinion you look awfully good sitting there, my Asian sister. I’m just saying!”
Making the network’s “official” announcement, Angelica McDaniel, Executive Vice President, Daytime Programs, CBS Entertainment, explained of the choice, “Carrie Ann connects with audiences by being genuine. We appreciate her warmth, heart and vulnerability, and love what she brings to the show.”