5:00pm PT by Rick Porter
Nancy O'Dell Leaving 'Entertainment Tonight'
Entertainment Tonight anchor Nancy O'Dell is leaving the show, she announced at the end of Friday's broadcast.
O'Dell has been with ET since January 2011 and became co-anchor in May of that year following Mary Hart's retirement. Friday was her last show at the syndicated newsmagazine. In her on-air statement she said she is stepping down to spend more time with her 12-year-old daughter, while also hinting at a new professional opportunity.
"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," O'Dell said. "I'll be back, and it won't be long. 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."
O'Dell's departure is one of several big changes at the major entertainment-news shows in recent months. Longtime Extra host Mario Lopez is moving to Access Hollywood, which in turn has parted ways with co-anchor Natalie Morales and has a new senior executive producer in Maureen FitzPatrick.
Warner Bros.-produced Extra has also terminated its relationship with 14-year host A.J. Calloway after the studio investigated several allegations of sexual assault against him. He was suspended from the show in February.
O'Dell worked as anchor and correspondent for Access Hollywood for 13 years before joining ET. She and Kevin Frazier have co-anchored the show since 2014.
"For almost nine years, Nancy has welcomed viewers to ET every night with her signature southern charm," said executive producer Erin Johnson. "From anchoring both royal weddings, gracing every major award show red carpet and interviewing the likes of Garth Brooks, J.Lo and Oprah, her expertise behind the microphone is undeniable. We can't thank Nancy enough for her dedication to keeping ET the gold standard in entertainment news and we have no doubt she will continue to succeed in all future endeavors."
O'Dell's full on-air statement is below.
Tonight, I'm excited to tell you about the start of a new chapter in my life … a new chapter for this small-town, grateful girl from Myrtle Beach, S.C., 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. I never take for granted how you have welcomed me into your home and your busy lives. 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. 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, and getting to work with so many wonderful and talented people here. I wish I had the time to list names because so many will forever be in my heart, like you, KFray [Kevin Frazier]. 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. 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. 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. 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. So, it's not goodbye, but rather just turning the page to the next chapter.