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Mary Hart announces the upcoming season of 'Entertainment Tonight' will be her last

August 5, 2010 |  9:24 am

Mary Hart Mary Hart, an iconic figure in the world of entertainment news, announced Thursday that she will be stepping down as host of “Entertainment Tonight” at the end of the upcoming season.

It remains to be seen who will succeed her at the syndicated show, which now competes with a bevy of television and online outlets jostling for supremacy in celebrity gossip.

Hart, who joined the program as a correspondent in 1982, will have spent 30 seasons at the television newsmagazine. In a statement, she said simply that she decided it was time to make a change.

“I've had the privilege of spending 29 years doing something I love — how often does that happen?” she said, adding: “I only meant to be at ‘ET’ for three years, suddenly it's almost 30!  I've reached a point when I clearly realize it's time for a change. There are many things I want to do in my life, and I'd better get on with them. It will certainly be with mixed sentiments that I say goodbye at the end of the season, but it will definitely be with a sense of celebration … 30 years of 'Entertainment Tonight,' are you kidding me?  That's an accomplishment, and something I'm very proud of!”

The show’s executive producer, Linda Bell Blue, noted that Hart “is one of my closest friends.” “Although I respect her decision, I will miss her tremendously,” she said in a statement. “Right now we are focused on making this next season the very best in her long history with ‘ET.’ ”

John Nogawski, president of CBS Television Distribution, credited Hart and “Entertainment Tonight” with creating what is now a flourishing genre. “She’s defined entertainment journalism,” he said.

— Matea Gold

Photo: Mary Hart at the Golden Globes in 2009. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.