“Entertainment Tonight” Loses Hart

Mary Hart, the long-standing host with the million-dollar legs is stepping down after 28 years.

In an unprecedented influx of television personalities stepping down (Oprah, Katie Couric, Meredith Viera), Mary Hart is joining that ever-growing list.

Hart taped her last show for "Entertainment Tonight" last night.

According to NPR, “Entertainment Tonight” sparked the public’s interest in the industry side of the biz. “We were the first ones to talk about television ratings and box office grosses,” the 60-year-old Hart told NPR.

Throughout the years, Hart’s interviewed the biggest names in showbiz, from Michael Jackson to Christopher Reeve, and thousands more. She regularly raked in more viewers than Katie Couric—5.9 million, according to Nielson—mostly because she was approachable.

It didn’t hurt that her manager insured her legs for $2 million.

But what was it that brought her to the public eye and kept it there? The New York Times argued it was a combination of Hart’s good looks, peppiness, and ease talking with celebrities.

With Hart’s departure, television—that is to say, celebrity television—is liable to change. “A lot of people like to watch ambush TV now,” Hart told the Times.

Shows like “TMZ” and websites such as Gawker and Perez Hilton love to aggressively report on celebrities, stripping away the glitz and glamour, and going for a more paparazzi-eque approach.

“I’m proud we don’t to that,” Hart told the Times. “I’m proud that we have a credibility and trust that comes both from the audience and the stars.”

Hart’s last show will air this Friday, with Nancy O’Dell replacing the entertainment stalwart.

Selected Reading: NPR, NYT

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