The biggest name in TV entertainment news, Mary Hart, announced Thursday that she would be leaving Entertainment Tonight at the conclusion of its upcoming season, which begins on September 13. In a statement, Hart, who turns 60 in November, said "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."
Most probably don't realize that Hart has not been with Entertainment Tonight from its beginning. The former beauty queen was hired as a reporter soon after its 1981 debut and became a studio host in 1982, working most prominently alongside John Tesh, Bob Goen, and Mark Steines.
ET was the first syndicated celebrity/entertainment newsmagazine, and still leads the field despite the heavy competition. In the process of lasting so long in a cutthroat business, Hart was able to become part of pop culture herself instead of just reporting on it, becoming famous for her dazzling legs and for having a voice that caused Kramer to have seizures on a memorable episode of Seinfeld.
There's no word on who will replace Hart, though speculation is likely to center on ET weekend host Samantha Harris and Lara Spencer, who hosts the ET spinoff show The Insider.