Tension Between Retiring Mary Hart and 'ET' Heir Nancy O'Dell? Fat Chance
By Stacy Jenel Smith Posted Dec 3rd 2010 10:15PM
Speaking of her official anointing as 'ET' heir apparent, 'Access Hollywood' veteran O'Dell says, "The day it was announced, Mary and I had a long wonderful phone conversation. She's so gracious and classy. I have such respect for her. Of course, we've known each other for years. We've shared the red carpets for competing shows, and she and I have been friends."
Now, she tells PopEater, they're planning some face time: "We haven't decided yet whether it will be a dinner with our spouses or a good long girls' lunch."
If that sounds like it could be almost too much bright sparkly-ness for one restaurant to contain, imagine how it's going to be next month, when Nancy starts her 'ET' tenure as a special correspondent/lady in waiting.
"I'm really glad that I'm going to have some time working with Mary. She'll be able to celebrate all these years she's spent on the show, and I look forward to celebrating with her," says O'Dell, who is 16 years younger than Hart. Hart is set to leave at the end of the current season.
For O'Dell, "It feels like a great year in my life, doing all these great things I've wanted to do."
First up: hosting Fox's 'New Year's Eve Live' from fabulous Las Vegas on Dec. 31.
"It's fun programming," notes the personable TV personality. "I'm so used to going to bed at eight o'clock New Year's Eve to do parades. I'm normally getting up at three or four in the morning and going off to work. This is the first time I'll be ringing in the New Year like this, doing an incredible show. I can't wait to see what all is in store," she says. Expect a jaw-dropping stunt or two, and a lineup of the hottest musical talents, including 'American Idol' alumni, plus live coverage from NYC.
Neither the 'New Year's Eve Live' roster nor Nancy's dress has been decided as of yet, but as for the latter, the one-time Miss South Carolina says, "I've already had appointments with a couple of designers. For New Year's Eve, the more sparkly the better."
After she finishes greeting 2011, she'll be dividing her time between her new 'ET' chores and 'Your Own Show: Oprah's Search for the Next TV Star,' which she'll host with Carson Kressley on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. Debuting in January, the competition series executive produced by Mark Burnett ('Survivor,' 'The Apprentice') is touted as a nationwide search to discover television's next big star. The winner gets his or her own OWN show.
"We've already started on that," says O'Dell, who'll have wrapped the first season of 'Your Own Show' by the time she takes the 'ET' anchor chair. "I'm very excited to be working with Oprah Winfrey."
There's also Nancy's scrapbooking collection for Creative Memories, her 'Full of Love' book (a follow up to her successful 'Full Of Life' pregnancy tome) and her furniture line. "I don't know why, but I'm more obsessed with furniture than I am clothes," she says -- though she's not ruling out a clothing line in the future.
"It's all keeping me quite busy, but they're all things I wanted to do."
How does such a one-woman conglomerate find time to sleep, let alone have a family? O'Dell has husband Keith Zubchevich, their three-year-old daughter, Ashby, and his two sons to think about. She insists, "Family is the most important thing."
"When I was negotiating with 'Entertainment Tonight,' I said that one thing that's important to me is that I get to take my daughter to school. So I'm going to do my hair and makeup at home, take her to school and then go on to the set. I'll mark off calendar days to be with my kids -- 'This day my son has a basketball game,' 'This day is the school program.'
"You can make it work," she contends. "You don't have to sacrifice time with your family."
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