As 2020 continues to take an ongoing toll on the country, Dancing with the Stars judge and The Talk co-host Carrie Ann Inaba has found herself in a unique position. Both shows recently returned for all-new seasons, amidst extremely new and challenging working environments due to COVID-19. "We're all back working and COVID is still happening," she told MediaVillage during a recent interview. "Each show, as you know, is affected by the changes in the world. But DTWS and The Talk are both handling it beautifully. There are subtle differences, but the most important thing is everyone has safety first.
"Sometimes things take a little longer because we have to do everything six-feet apart," she continued. "We can't walk next to each other. We can’t hug. There's a lot of things we can't do because of COVID. DTWS [had its season premiere] a week before The Talk and I'm so grateful that it happened that way. While [both] shows are still the same, they both had big changes. On top of that, COVID precautions!"
Inaba admitted that while there have indeed been huge adjustments to her work life, so far things couldn’t be running better. "I'm so impressed," she shared. "It's not easy putting on a show like [DWTS] during COVID. That’s the truth. It is hard! But I look around at the people in the studios at both DWTS and The Talk, and it has bonded us together. We're having a shared experience of just wanting to do good work, while bringing joy to and uplifting people. I mean, we're working really hard at both shows to entertain people at home because we know everybody's going through difficult times."
The changes to the current seasons of both shows were substantial, to say the least. The Talk saw the departure of co-host Marie Osmond, while at DWTS, host Tom Bergeron and co-host Erin Andrews were replaced by Tyra Banks.
Joining an established show amid controversial circumstances is something Inaba knows all about. "I miss Tom and Erin because we're like family and I don't get to see them every week," she shared. "It's been controversial, yes. Let's just say it. Tyra has an excitement to her that is sort of hard to put into words. She brought a really amazing energy and I support [her] 100 percent. I have so much compassion for what she is going through. I joined The Talk during a very tumultuous time. Julie (Chen) had left the show amidst a very … Well, you know, the whole time ‘that’ was happening.
"I love Julie Chen, and she was so gracious in the way she allowed me to step into her shoes," Inaba continued. "She said, 'You know I would love to see you there, my Asian sister.' At the beginning of the season, Julie sent me roses for good luck and her best wishes. I love her so much because she's just an amazing woman, and listen, this business is what it is. It’s fickle. We all know it. All of us that are in this know our time is limited wherever we are. So, you may as well just have fun where you're at and just do the best you can to support each other."
It’s through the feeling of support she’s receiving at both shows, that makes going to work a joy for Inaba. "I've always been supported by the other women at The Talk," she shared. "Sharon (Osbourne), Sheryl (Underwood), Eve, and when Marie was there, just like Sara (Gilbert), everyone has always been supportive. (Underwood, Inaba, Osbourne and Eve are pictured above.) There's a very good feeling there and there's a bond that's hard to describe. I feel like I've become a better woman because I am in the company of strong women and we really do help each other. Like even today, before I came over to DWTS, we were all saying, 'I love it here. It's so fun to go to work!' We're just happy to go to work and we're grateful because we know a lot of people don't have work right now, so we want to bring joy to people's lives."
The Talkis telecast weekdays on CBS. Dancing with the Stars is telecast Mondays on ABC.
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