Carrie Ann Inaba trades ballroom for Emmy red carpet

Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:15pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When the Emmy-nominated television stars begin their stroll up the red carpet Sunday at U.S. TV's top honors, one nominee will be on the wrong side of the line between celebrities and onlookers, Carrie Ann Inaba.

But don't think the judge of No. 2-rated U.S. TV show "Dancing With the Stars," which was nominated for 10 Emmys this year, was wronged by award organizers because Inaba is where she wants to be. She is hosting the TV Guide Network's coverage of the Emmys red carpet and asking questions of stars instead of rubbing elbows with them.

"I actually feel more comfortable doing this than walking the red carpet. There's so much pressure in walking the red carpet," Inaba told Reuters.

Alongside fellow "Dancing" judges Len Goodman (the upholder of conservative ballroom dancing) and Bruno Tonioli (the voice of brash showmanship), Inaba plays the middle of the panel, cheering daring choreography as long as it stays within the rules of ballroom dancing on the popular TV contest.

The show is seen by more than 20 million viewers weekly, and it earned Emmy nods for best reality competition, best host (Tom Bergeron) and choreography, among its nods.

As a judge on "Dancing," Inaba has become as popular among TV audiences as the stars she will question on Emmy night. Still, she thinks she will make a top-notch and inquisitive red carpet reporter because she's been a big TV fan since childhood and sees less like a nominee and more like an everyday viewer.

By blending her audience point-of-view about TV with her industry insider knowledge, she thinks she can provide special insight to viewers of the TV Guide Network on Emmy night.

"I'm not going to pretend that I'm not on a show, but I'm going to be meeting people I've never met before," she said.   Continued...

<p>TV Guide Network Emmy Red Carpet hosts Carrie Ann Inaba and Chris Harrison are pictured in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/TV Guide/Handout</p>