UPDATED: There were Internet claims at the time of retiring ET host Mary Hart’s announcement that The Insider‘s Lara Spencer had been chosen as her replacement. But we knew they weren’t true. Instead, we reported that CBS Corp CEO Les Moonves, CBS Television Distribution President John Nogawski, and ET’s producers “would look at her and other outside candidates”. And that’s exactly what they did. They went to the competition and fixed on Nancy O’Dell, veteran co-host of rival Access Hollywood, who will succeed Hart when she departs Entertainment Tonight after almost 30 years. O’Dell will join ET in January as a special correspondent and substitute anchor, and will assume her permanent role as co-anchor alongside Mark Steines after Hart’s departure at the end of the 2010-2011 TV season. “When Mary Hart told us she planned to leave ET at the end of this season, we went into denial,” ET executive producer Linda Bell Blue said. “But we also knew we had one tough job to do — find someone to fill that seat. In Nancy we have found that someone.”
NBC Sports & Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol; ET host Mary Hart, who is retiring from the entertainment newsmagazine after 30 seasons; veteran talk show host Regis Philbin and RTL CEO Gerhard Zeiler will receive NATPE’s 8th annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award. It will be presented on Jan. 25 during the NATPE 2011 Market & Conference in Miami.
Lotsa Internet sites are claiming just now that The Insider‘s Lara Spencer already has been chosen to replace Mary Hart as host of Entertainment Tonight. I, too, heard the rumor that Spencer was contractually guaranteed the gig during her last negotiation. But not so fast… “It hasn’t been promised to her. Her people planted that,” an insider tells me. I hear CBS Corp CEO Les Moonves, and CBS Television Distribution President John Nogawski, and ET‘s producers “discussed that she would do The Insider and we would look at her and other candidates outside so there was total transparency.” Spencer might still get the gig: she has that chirpy cheerful quality TV execs choose. But, jeez, who cares? I don’t even know her name. And lame celeb shows like ET are a dime a dozen on the tube these days and suffer from the same blandness.
August 5, 2010, Hollywood, CA– Mary Hart, the host of Entertainment Tonight, announced today that her final year on the show will be ET’s upcoming 30th season, which launches September 13, 2010. Hart joined ET in 1982.
Hart says, “I’ve had the privilege of spending 29 years doing something I love – how often does that happen? I’ve had the support of a stupendous group of people starting with Linda Bell Blue, John Nogawski and many others who are so talented on our staff at ET. I only meant to be at ET for three years, suddenly it’s almost 30! I’ve reached a point when I clearly realize it’s time for a change. There are many things I want to do in my life and I’d better get on with them. It will certainly be with mixed sentiments that I say ‘goodbye’ at the end of the season, but it will definitely be with a sense of celebration…30 years of Entertainment Tonight, are you kidding me? That’s an accomplishment and something I’m very proud of!”