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[11/08/10 - 06:19 PM]
Mary Hart Passes Baton to Nancy O'Dell
O'Dell will join "ET" as a special correspondent and substitute co-anchor beginning in January 2011 and will assume the role of co-anchor, after Mary Hart ends her final season on the show.

[via press release from CBS]

MARY HART PASSES BATON TO NANCY O'DELL

O'Dell Will Become Co-Anchor of Entertainment Tonight Following Mary Hart's Final Season in 2011; She Joins As Special Correspondent and Substitute Co-Anchor in January

Hollywood, CA - November 8, 2010 - Nancy O'Dell has been named co-anchor of CBS Television Distribution's Entertainment Tonight, the No. 1 syndicated newsmagazine on television, it was announced today by Linda Bell Blue, Executive Producer of Entertainment Tonight. O'Dell joins Entertainment Tonight as a special correspondent and substitute co-anchor beginning in January 2011 and will assume the role of co-anchor, after Mary Hart ends her final season on the show. Mark Steines is also a co-anchor of Entertainment Tonight.

Hart, who joined ET in 1982, announced in August 2010 this will be her final season.

Mary Hart said, "Leaving this job was not an easy decision, but knowing I will pass the baton to Nancy O'Dell makes that decision much easier. Nancy is a talented and respected entertainment correspondent. We have spent many years working on opposite sides of the celebrity battlefield; I look forward to now working together, and I know the show will flourish with Nancy as co-anchor."

In making the announcement, Linda Bell Blue said, "When Mary Hart told us she planned to leave ET at the end of this season, we went into denial. But we also knew we had one tough job to do -- find someone to fill that seat. In Nancy we have found that someone. Nancy is not only a talented individual in her own right, but someone who will fit beautifully alongside the very accomplished Mark Steines. Together they will front the No. 1 entertainment newsmagazine in the world. Nancy comes to ET with a stellar reputation, years of experience in solid reporting and brings with her an audience that trusts and admires her. Nancy is known not only as a great interviewer, but also as one of the nicest and classiest individuals in the business. Those qualities are important to us, and they translate on-screen. We are thrilled that Nancy is joining us and are certain she has the talent and dedication to take ET into its next 30 years!"

Nancy O'Dell said, "I remember watching Entertainment Tonight when it first premiered and dreaming about working for the show someday! It is the original and the gold standard of entertainment news shows. Needless to say, I am thrilled that my dream has come true. I have greatly admired the show and the incomparable and esteemed Mary Hart - her quiet power and professionalism are beyond admirable. I am honored to be the one chosen to fill a TV legend's seat and I hope I can �do her proud!' CBS and Linda Bell Blue have made ET the best - both in its classiness and the sheer number of viewers it attracts year after year after year. I know the show is only 30 years young, so I'm glad I'm joining it at this stage in its life as I plan to make ET my home for many years to come."

John Nogawski, President of CBS Television Distribution stated, "Mary Hart and ET have been synonymous practically since its inception, which makes it hard to believe we will be saying goodbye to her at the end of the season. But Mary agrees �the show must go on' so we are very excited to welcome Nancy to ET. Entertainment news has been Nancy's beat for years, and she is respected throughout the entire Hollywood community. So as ET ends one era and begins a new one, we know this transition will be seamless. Nancy O'Dell and Mark Steines are the perfect anchor team to continue ET's legacy as the #1 entertainment newsmagazine. At the same time, ET's sister show, The Insider -- which ranks at #2 -- has a great team in Lara Spencer and Chris Jacobs. With a two-anchor format and straightforward news, we are experiencing new ratings highs this season."

Named one of "Television Week's" 10 Most Bankable Stars in Syndication, Emmy Award-winning entertainment journalist Nancy O'Dell has proven to be a force in all areas of her career as a host, author, producer and entrepreneur. O'Dell served as the co-anchor of "Access Hollywood" for 13 years and, most recently, was tapped by Oprah and Mark Burnett Productions to host the OWN network primetime show entitled, "Your OWN Show: Oprah's Search For The Next TV Star," premiering in January 2011. She has contributed reports to CBS's "The Early Show," NBC News' "Today" and "Dateline." With 20 years of TV experience, she is a go-to host for network specials, having hosted live shows for the Golden Globes, The Emmys, The Critic's Choice Awards, the Kentucky Derby, The Rose Parade and the NFL. O'Dell is a published author with her first book Full of Life: Mom-to-Mom Tips I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was Pregnant, debuting in the top three of all motherhood books and as a top-selling gift book. With Creative Memories, she recently released her second book, Full of Love, about the power of the family photo album.

Entertainment Tonight is produced and distributed by CBS Television Distribution and is taped in Studio City, Calif. Linda Bell Blue is executive producer. Mary Hart is host; Mark Steines is co-host. Kevin Frazier is a correspondent. Samantha Harris is a correspondent. Leonard Maltin is historian/correspondent.

CBS Television Distribution is a unit of CBS Corp.





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