Nancy O’Dell has some big pumps to fill.
O’Dell will take over as co-anchor of Entertainment Tonight when Mary Hart leaves the show next year, RadarOnline.com can report.
O’Dell – formerly of rival Access Hollywood – will join ET as a special correspondent and substitute co-anchor beginning in January 2011 and will assume the role of co-anchor, after Hart ends her final season on the show next fall. Mark Steines will remain as co-anchor of the program.
In making the announcement, E.T.’s Executive Producer 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!”
O’Dell recalls, “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.”
Hart, who joined ET in 1982, announced in August 2010 that this will be her final season.
“Leaving this job was not an easy decision, but knowing I will pass the baton to Nancy O’Dell makes that decision much easier,” Hart told People magazine on Monday. “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.”