Nancy O'Dell announces exit from 'Entertainment Tonight' after 9 years

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Nancy O'Dell is saying goodbye to "Entertainment Tonight" after nearly a decade.

The journalist, 53, announced during Friday's broadcast that she's stepping down from her post as the co-host of the syndicated newsmagazine to spend time with her family. 

"I’m going to enjoy some time off with the most wonderful gal in my life, my daughter, because they grow up way too fast," O'Dell said, referring to her 12-year-old daughter Ashby Grace Zubchevich with ex-husband Keith Zubchevich. "She is always my priority."

O’Dell joined "ET" in January 2011 and succeeded "the legendary" Mary Hart as co-anchor in May following her retirement, which O'Dell called "an honor."

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"This small-town, grateful girl from Myrtle Beach, SC… used to watch fellow Carolinian Leeza Gibbons and Mary Hart…thinking, 'Wow, what beautiful, powerful women and what a cool job they have!'" she said. "To now having that job for 9 years and being a veteran host on the red carpet for almost 25 years."

O'Dell dedicated her final broadcast to her longtime manager/agent, John Ferriter, who passed away last week. The veteran host said Ferriter encouraged her to "do what makes you happy" because "life is too short."

"This last sign off is for you, John, and for all the viewers whom I have an unbreakable bond with from our daily chance to talk all things entertainment," she said. "That bond will never change. So, it's not goodbye, but rather just turning the page to the next chapter."

O'Dell took to Instagram Friday night to reveal that her last day on "ET" also marked Ferriter's funeral, writing, "Been quite the emotional day."

Despite her departure, O'Dell left the door open for a possible return to showbiz. 

"As I take on that list of things still to come, it means leaving this position, but it does not mean I am leaving the genre," she teased. "I'll be back and it won’t be long."

"ET" Executive Producer Erin Johnson said the company "can’t thank Nancy enough."

"For almost nine years, Nancy has welcomed viewers to ET every night with her signature southern charm," Johnson said in a statement to USA TODAY. "From anchoring both royal weddings, gracing every major award show red carpet and interviewing the likes of Garth Brooks, JLo and Oprah, her expertise behind the microphone is undeniable."

The statement continued: "We have no doubt she will continue to succeed in all future endeavors."

Updated 5:37 AM EST Dec 18, 2019

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