This ‘Entertainment Tonight’ Host Just Resigned
Entertainment Tonight has been the television source for celebrity news since its launch in September 1981. Covering superstars for decades from Angelina Jolie and Tom Holland to Ariana Grande and the Jonas Brothers, the show launched the careers of correspondents including Leeza Gibbons, Kevin Frazier, and the legendary Mary Hart. The celebrity buzz program is now saying goodbye to one of its most famed anchors.
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Starting as a reporter in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Nancy O’Dell went from covering hard news to being the voice of who’s trending in Hollywood. Starting as a leader early on, O’Dell was valedictorian of her high school class as reported by IMDb, and is a summa cum laude honors graduate of Clemson University.
O’Dell started her journey in entertainment reporting when she joined Access Hollywood in 1996. She stayed on the syndicated show for 13 years before starting on Entertainment Tonight as a special correspondent in 2011. A few months later, O’Dell took over as lead anchor when Hart left the show. Kevin Frazier joined her as co-host in 2014.
O’Dell announced her exit from the program last week in a heartfelt message to viewers, as well as posting it on Instagram. Her departure is on the heels of the death of her talent rep and friend John Ferriter, according to Deadline. Metro reported that Ferriter passed away due to complications from pancreatitis at the age of 59.
“Tonight, I’m excited to tell you about the start of a new chapter in my life,” she began in her announcement. “A new chapter for this small-town, grateful girl from Myrtle Beach, SC, who used to watch fellow Carolinian Leeza Gibbons and Mary Hart on Entertainment Tonight thinking, ‘Wow, what beautiful, powerful women and what a cool job they have!’ … to now having that job for 9 years and being a veteran host on the red carpet for almost 25 years.”
She also shared advice from a friend on recording achievements and goals. “Not long ago, a dear friend told me to make a life list, writing down on one side career milestones, and on the other side, what I still want to accomplish,” she said. “The first list contains a near embarrassment of riches for me; like being chosen as the host to step into the shoes of the legendary Mary Hart, what an honor, then the people, all the celebrities who have let me into their private worlds, many becoming good friends. I wish I had the time to list names because so many will forever be in my heart, like you, KFray [longtime co-host Frazier].”
O’Dell shared that her immediate plans were to spend time with her daughter, 12-year-old Ashby Grace, before reentering the entertainment field. “As I take on that list of things still to come, it means leaving this position, but it does not mean I am leaving the genre. I’ll be back and it won’t be long,” she said. “I’m going to enjoy some time off with the most wonderful gal in my life, my daughter, because they grow up way too fast. She is always my priority and then I’ll focus on my new project.”
She was also sure to praise her friend Ferriter. “My manager/agent and dear friend of 20 years, John Ferriter, helped me get this job at ET. He passed away just a week ago. Shortly before his passing, he told me life is too short, do what makes you happy, you’re creating your own best life. I think I’ve heard Oprah say that too … two smart people … but I’m proud to have this show as part of my story,” she said.
O’Dell concluded by dedicating her final sign off to her late friend. “This last sign off is for you, John, and for all the viewers whom I have an unbreakable bond with from our daily chance to talk all things entertainment. That bond will never change,” she said, according to People. “So, it’s not goodbye, but rather just turning the page to the next chapter.”
Fans are sure to stay tuned to see what O’Dell comes up with for her next project.