[08/23/05 - 12:00 AM]
Maria Menounos Joins NBC Universal's "Access Hollywood" as Special Correspondent and "Today" as West Coast Contributor

[via press release from NBC Universal Television Studio]


Entertainment Reporter to Be Based in Los Angeles

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- August 23, 2005 -- Entertainment Reporter Maria Menounos is joining both NBC Universal's "Access Hollywood" and NBC News' "Today" this fall, it was announced today by Rob Silverstein, Executive Producer, "Access Hollywood," and by Jim Bell, Executive Producer, "Today."

Menounos, who most recently was a correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight," will serve as a special correspondent for "Access Hollywood," which kicks off its 10th season in national syndication on Monday, September 5th, and will be a "West Coast" contributor for "Today."

"We've always been huge fans of Maria and believe she has the skills, attitude and style that fits 'Access Hollywood' perfectly," says Silverstein. "She's current, a unique talent, someone that cuts through, and definitely stands out in a crowd. We could not be more pleased with Maria joining the most credible entertainment news magazine in the world."

"Maria's wide-ranging experience is a tremendous asset for "Today," said Bell. "Her enthusiasm and energy for her work will be invaluable to our coverage - she's a welcome addition to our roster of strong contributors."

"I'm so thrilled to be part of the NBC family," said Menounos. "To be working at such a cutting-edge show like 'Access,' and have the opportunity to be a part of the #1 morning news program on television is so exciting. My thanks to Jeff Zucker, Rob Silverstein and Jim Bell for all of their support and encouragement."

Menounos has served as a correspondent for syndicated newsmagazine "Entertainment Tonight" since the fall of 2001, reporting on film, TV, music and fashion. She also hosted ET on MTV and ET on VH1. In addition, Menounos currently serves as the 2005 spokesperson for PANTENE hair products and continues to pursue outside projects in both television and film.

In addition to being named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful" for 2004, Menounos has also appeared in a number of high-profile television shows, which includes a recurring role on "One Tree Hill" (WB), and a guest-starring role on "Without A Trace" (CBS). Her feature film work includes playing Chris Evan's love interest in the current 20th Century Fox sci/fi action film, "Fantastic Four." Recently, Menounos starred opposite Sean Connery in "From Russia With Love," an Electronic Arts video game due out this holiday season.

As a filmmaker, Menounos recently formed her own production company, "Omega Girl Inc," and has several projects in development. She serves as both executive producer and producer of the film, 'In the Land of Merry Misfits,' a 35mm feature length movie soon to be released, and as director and producer of 35 mm feature length dark comedies, "Longtime Listener," and "Fwiends.com," both currently in post-production and starring Wilmer Valderrama and Lara Flynn Boyle, respectively. In addition, her company has optioned the screen rights to the book, "Boy Giant," by Dan Brannan and is set to begin principal photography on the horror/comedy feature, "Stagemother."

Menounos made her television debut as an international correspondent for Channel One News, the #1 source of news for America's teen students. During her tenure, she interviewed President George W. Bush, numerous celebrities, and traveled the world to cover such tragedies as the 2001 earthquake in El Salvador and the AIDS epidemic in South Africa.

Her experiences as a journalist have compelled Menounos to spend time off-camera on philanthropic and social issues close to her heart. After witnessing the devastating effects of AIDS in South Africa as a Channel One reporter, she formed Take Action Hollywood! (TAH!), a charity whose mission is to utilize the power of the entertainment industry and the production medium to educate, empower and raise social awareness. Menounos and TAH! are currently working with Miramax Films on a joint venture to promote 'Paper Clips,' a holocaust documentary and has also produced a television commercial on AIDS awareness. In addition, TAH! has teamed up with Cosmo Girl Magazine in awarding the first annual Cosmo Girl Cup. A nationwide competition, the Cup is awarded to the group of teens who do the most to affect for positive social change in their communities and/or the world. A panel of celebrities assembled by Menounos, judge the competition.

About NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution:

NBC Universal is a leader in providing entertainment programming to the domestic and international marketplaces. The NBC Universal Television Distribution division is responsible for the global distribution of NBC Universal product to all forms of television throughout the world. This includes distribution of current and library film and television product, including formats and non-scripted programming, in the pay, free, and basic markets, as well as the domestic syndication of first-run syndicated TV programs and theatrical and TV movie packages.

Current and upcoming first-run strip syndicated programming at NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution includes Martha, Access Hollywood, Blind Date, The Jane Pauley Show, The Jerry Springer Show, Maury and Starting Over. Current and upcoming first-run weekly syndicated programming includes The Chris Matthews Show, The George Michael Sports Machine, Rebecca's Garden, The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo, Your Total Health and the off-network distribution of Crossing Jordan, Fear Factor, Providence, Law & Order and many more series.

  [august 2005]  


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