NEW YORK (CBS) – Nancy O’Dell has been named the new co-host of “Entertainment Tonight.”

The former “Access Hollywood” co-anchor will take over for Mary Hart, who is retiring in 2011 after 30 seasons of hosting the entertainment newsmagazine.

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PICTURES: Nancy O’Dell

“I remember watching ‘Entertainment Tonight’ when it first premiered and dreaming about working for the show someday,” O’Dell said in a statement. “I am honored to be the one chosen to fill a TV legend’s seat and I hope I can do her proud!”

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O’Dell, 44, will begin her new post at “ET” in January as a special correspondent before officially taking over for Hart.

Hart, 60, who joined “ET” in 1982, announced her plans to leave the show this past August.

“Leaving this job was not an easy decision, but knowing I will pass the baton to Nancy O’Dell makes that decision much easier,” Hart said Monday. “Nancy is a talented and respected entertainment correspondent. We have spent many years working on opposite sides of the celebrity battlefield and I know the show will flourish with Nancy as co-anchor.”

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