LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Longtime “Entertainment Tonight” co-host Nancy O’Dell is leaving the newsmagazine show, revealing the news to viewers on Friday’s broadcast.
O’Dell first joined as anchor of the show in 2010, replacing Mary Hart, after spending 13 years co-anchoring “Access Hollywood.”
“For almost nine years, Nancy has welcomed viewers to ‘ET’ every night with her signature southern charm,” said “Entertainment Tonight” executive producer Erin Johnson. “From anchoring both royal weddings, gracing every major award show red carpet and interviewing the likes of Garth Brooks, JLo 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.”
The move comes just a week after the death of her manager and agent of 20 years, John Ferriter. He had recently told O’Dell that “life is too short, do what makes you happy.” O’Dell dedicated her last “ET” sign-off to Ferriter and to viewers of the show, and also said that she will be enjoying her time off with her daughter, “because they grow up way too fast.”
Viewers should not expect her to be out of the public eye forever, however.
“I’ll be back and it won’t be long,” she said.
Read O’Dell’s full on-air statement 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, 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. 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.”