Nancy O’Dell: I Didn’t Plot to Beat Out Lara for ‘ET’ Anchor Spot


Nancy O’Dell says she was as surprised as anyone else when she was named as Mary Hart’s replacement on “Entertainment Tonight.”

The announcement last month that O’Dell, 44, would succeed Hart shocked those who avidly follow the entertainment-news shows. Ever since Hart announced in August that the 2010-11 season would be her last on “ET,” conventional wisdom held that Lara Spencer, anchor of “ET’s” sister show, “The Insider,” was a shoo-in for Hart’s job.

That turned out not to be the case and now O’Dell is insisting she didn’t plan to pre-empt Lara. She told The New York Post that she met with a variety of people on possible projects in the 12 months since she opted to leave “Access Hollywood.”

“I had feelers out there and had taken meetings,” she told the paper. She said no one ever promised her the “ET” job, but she’s certainly happy to get it.

“ ‘ET’ is the gold standard,” she said. “Celebrities trust it and they know what they’re going to get when they go on. Obviously, audiences like it too.”

In fact, “ET” is so ubiquitous that most people thought she was on “ET” the whole time anyway. “It was frustrating when I worked at ‘Access’,” she said. “I would walk through an airport and people would say, ‘Nancy O’Dell!’ [And they’d hum] the ‘Entertainment Tonight’ theme song!”

We think Nancy O’Dell will do just fine as Mary Hart’s successor. What do you think?

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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