Nancy_O_Dell Former “Access Hollywood” anchor Nancy O’Dell is jumping to rival TV mag “Entertainment Tonight,” where she’ll replace the retiring Mary Hart.

Move comes as a surprise: “The Insider” host Lara Spencer was expected to fill Hart’s shoes.

But with O’Dell available — she left “Access” last year — and “The Insider’s” ratings flagging, insiders said O’Dell ultimately made the most sense to fill Hart’s big shoes.

O’Dell served as co-anchor of “Access Hollywood” for 13 years. Most recently, she was tapped by Fox to host its annual “New Year’s Eve Live” coverage on Dec. 31.

O’Dell, who has been working as a contributor on NBC’s “Today” and “Dateline,” is also the host of the new Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Your Own Show,” set to debut in January.

O’Dell will also be seen in the upcoming “Scream 4,” and recently released the book “Full of Life.”

Hart announced in August that she planned to leave “ET” in 2011 after nearly 30 years on the entertainment newsmag. CBS TV Distribution is behind “Entertainment Tonight,” which is co-anchored by Mark Steines. Linda Bell Blue is the exec producer.

People magazine first broke news of the O'Dell hire.

O’Dell isn’t the first “Access” alum to eventually cross the street; “ET” stole away “Access” anchor Pat O’Brien in 2004 to launch its spin-off “The Insider.”

 

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