Carrie Ann Inaba, who already had been sitting at the table as a guest host, on Wednesday announced her debut as a permanent co-host.
Sara Gilbert built some suspense by toasting her as-yet-named colleague. Inaba then appeared onstage in silhouette, and burst forward to reveal herself in a confetti-showered entrance.
In a clip from the show below, Inaba hugged Gilbert and her other co-hosts, Eve, Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood.
“It’s been such an honor the last year ... coming in guest co-hosting and learning so much from all of you,” Inaba said. “I feel so fortunate to be able to sit at a table with such dynamic, strong, beautiful peers and learn from you ... I look forward to many more deep conversations.”
A montage bio followed, and Osbourne declared: “The last few months have been really really tough on all of us, but you have brought us together and we love you for that.”
She was, of course, referring to Chen’s exit after nine years on the show, following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against her husband, CBS head Les Moonves, who was ousted from his post.
Inaba, who turns 51 this week, is perhaps best known as a judge on “Dancing With The Stars.” She will continue in that position as well. But Wednesday marked a new beginning for the Hawaii native.
“Carrie Ann connects with audiences by being genuine. We appreciate her warmth, heart and vulnerability,” Angelica McDaniel, executive vice president of daytime programs for CBS Entertainment, said in a statement to USA Today.