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Nancy O'Dell exits 'Entertainment Tonight' after 9 years

The veteran TV host dedicated her final signoff to her manager, agent and friend, John Ferriter.
69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals
TV personality Nancy O'Dell attends the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles.John Shearer / WireImage
/ Source: TODAY

Nancy O’Dell bid adieu to "Entertainment Tonight" on Friday.

The longtime co-host of the popular entertainment newsmagazine show delivered a heartfelt message at the end of Friday night’s broadcast and later shared it on Instagram. O’Dell, 53, tipped her hat to her broadcast family and the show’s loyal viewers, with whom she said she has an “unbreakable bond.”

“Tonight, I’m excited to tell you about the start of a new chapter in my life,” she began. “A new chapter for this small-town, grateful girl from Myrtle Beach, SC, who used to watch fellow Carolinian Leeza Gibbons and Mary Hart on Entertainment Tonight thinking, ‘Wow, what beautiful, powerful women and what a cool job they have!’ … to now having that job for 9 years and being a veteran host on the red carpet for almost 25 years.”

O’Dell got her big TV break in 1996 at "Access Hollywood" and joined the "Entertainment Tonight" team as a special correspondent in 2011, before succeeding Hart upon her departure several months later. She most recently co-hosted the show with Kevin Frazier.

“Not long ago, a dear friend told me to make a life list, writing down on one side career milestones, and on the other side, what I still want to accomplish,” she continued. “The first list contains a near embarrassment of riches for me; like being chosen as the host to step into the shoes of the legendary Mary Hart, what an honor, then the people, all the celebrities who have let me into their private worlds, many becoming good friends.”

She went on to thank the “wonderful and talented people” she’s worked with on the show over the years. O’Dell gave a particular shoutout to Frazier, aka “KFray.” (Frazier shared his own dedication to O’Dell on his Instagram as well, thanking her for “letting me be a part of your journey.”)

Though she will no longer be Frazier’s co-host on the show, O’Dell reassured viewers and fans that she still plans to work in the entertainment genre — after some much-needed time off, of course, during which she will spend more time with her 12-year-old daughter “because they grow up way too fast.”

Lastly, she dedicated her final signoff to Ferriter, who helped her get the job at "Entertainment Tonight" all those years ago, and revealed that he had given her an important piece of advice prior to his death.

“Shortly before his passing, he told me life is too short, do what makes you happy, you’re creating your own best life,” she said. “I think I’ve heard Oprah say that too … two smart people … but I'm proud to have this show as part of my story. … It’s not goodbye, but rather just turning the page to the next chapter.”

During her time at "Entertainment Tonight," O’Dell interviewed everyone from Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks to Oprah Winfrey herself. When she was at "Access Hollywood," O’Dell famously helped host the Miss USA and Miss Universe competitions, and has made guest appearances as herself in everything from TV shows like "Charmed" to movies like the "Scream" series.

In June 2010, following her exit from "Access Hollywood" and prior to her start at "Entertainment Tonight," she co-hosted the Nashville Rising concert to help raise flood relief funds for the residents of Nashville, Tennessee, alongside Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.