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Nancy O’Dell Will Replace Mary Hart on Entertainment Tonight

Something seemed off when Nancy O'Dell stepped down as co-anchor of Access Hollywood late last year, ending a thirteen-season run with the NBC-produced showbiz magazine. It all happened pretty quickly, near the end of December, with virtually no hoopla and two years before her contract was up. But now things make a little more sense: Vulture has confirmed that O'Dell has been tapped to replace retiring Entertainment Tonight anchor Mary Hart. ET is the 800-pound gorilla in the syndicated showbiz-roundup world, so O'Dell is clearly getting a promotion. But her hiring, first reported by people.com, is a mild surprise: The folks at the dominant ET have generally operated over the years as if they were the only showbiz TV mag in the world, so the idea that a longtime competitor would end up replacing Hart is an admission that perhaps the ET gang has actually had a grudging respect for its chief rival all along. It's also gotta sting some in-house candidates who had been considered as possible Hart replacements (particularly The Insider host Lara Spencer, who'd already been given the job by at least one website).

Photo: Courtesy of NancyOdell.com