“Dancing With the Stars” has been a juggernaut of a series since its start, kicking off in 2005 and continuing for a whopping 27 seasons ― and counting.
The hit ABC show, though, is taking a break this spring for the first time after airing two seasons each year since its premiere. Which begs the question: How much longer will the reality dancing competition continue?
“It’s going to be a good season when it comes back,” Inaba said about the fall season. There’s no word yet on what’s in store, but recently producers have switched up the format by introducing a juniors competition and an all-athlete season.
As for how long the show will last, Inaba said, “Let’s hope we at least make it to [Season] 30. And then from there — wherever!”
Inaba has been sitting on the judging panel alongside Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman since “Dancing With the Stars” began. Having the original lineup of judges, Inaba thinks, has contributed to the popularity of the show, which pairs celebrities with professional dancers.
“I feel like people don’t know how much we care about the dancers,” Inaba said. “We love them all. We all love each other … We have the same original judging panel ... I think we’re familiar with people. And I think in this day and age when there’s so much turmoil in the world, people want something that makes them feel comfortable and familiar and safe.”
The longtime allure of the series goes way beyond dancing, Inaba said.
“The thing about ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is we’ve become family. We don’t get too controversial. We keep it to the point. Great dancing. Fun. It’s good old-fashioned entertainment. We get to see people trying something new, which I always think is inspirational. I, myself, get inspired by people on the show who have big careers and they are willing to risk ego to come and dance … It reminds us all that it’s OK to fail and get back up,” she said. “I think that’s the message of the show — to get out there and try something new. I think we all get stuck in our comfort zones. And I’m proud to be a part of that show, encouraging people to try new things.”
Inaba, herself, is trying some new things in her own career. In January, she joined “The Talk” as a co-host, taking over for Julie Chen, who exited the CBS talk show in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against her husband, former CBS chief Les Moonves.
“She’s been very supportive. Julie’s my sister,” Inaba said of Chen. “She’s been awesome ... And it’s so good when women support each other. It’s really important in our community. We need to always support each other and uplift each other. It was a very difficult time for her and she’s been nothing but supportive. So I’m very grateful.”
Inaba, who co-hosts “The Talk” alongside Sheryl Underwood, Sharon Osbourne, Eve and Sara Gilbert, said it’s the first time she’s ever held a steady job that she “had to wake up every day for.” So far, she’s loving every minute of being on a diverse panel of women talking about a range of topics.
Whether it’s sitting on the judges’ panel or chatting alongside a group of women, Inaba said her motto in life is “truth” ― both telling it and receiving it.
“I don’t care if it’s ugly truth or if it’s going to break my heart into a million pieces — because it’s the only way I can grow,” she said.
For the full Build Series interview, check out the video below.