Mendte ankles ‘Access’

After months of speculation, “Access Hollywood” now is officially in the market for a new male co-anchor.

Larry Mendte is leaving the NBC/Twentieth TV syndie magazine strip at the end of August to become the 11 p.m. news anchor for NBC-owned WCAU Philadelphia. Mendte was a news anchor for CBS O&O WBBM Chicago before signing on with the startup entertainment magazine last summer.

“Access Hollywood” officials say Mendte’s replacement will be in place by the start of the new season, adding that Mendte’s decision to leave the show came by “mutual agreement” with executive producer Jim Van Messel. However, sources say producers have long been shopping for a new partner for anchor Giselle Fernandez.

“Access Hollywood” has had a rocky first season, but NBC and Twentieth officials have repeatedly said they’re committed to giving the show a chance to boost its ratings in year two.

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