Country of origin
No. of seasons
First episode date
14 September 1981
Theme music composer
Michael Mark (original)will.i.am (2012 recomposition)
No. of episodes
10,415 (as of December 19, 2014; 8,680, weekdays; 1,735, weekend)
Entertainment Tonight Theme Song
Charles Cook, Andrew Epstein
Brad Bessey, Bonnie Tiegle, Joe Siyam
Entertainment Tonight, (stylized as ET), is an American first-run syndicated entertainment television newsmagazine that is distributed by CBS Television Distribution throughout the United States, and is broadcast on the Global Television Network in Canada, and on networks in many countries around the world. As of 2015, the program's weekday broadcasts are currently anchored by Nancy O'Dell and Kevin Frazier, while the weekend editions are anchored by Cameron Mathison and Nischelle Turner.
- America on entertainment tonight
- Special correspondents
- Former on air staff
- International versions
- New Zealand
It is the longest-running entertainment news program on television, having made its premiere telecast on September 14, 1981; it was also the first syndicated program to be distributed via satellite. Until the start of the 2013–14 television season, the program made the claim in on-air introductions at the start of the program and in some promotions that it was "the most watched entertainment news magazine in the world" (though by which measures this claim was verified have never been revealed).
It was announced on January 30, 2006, that Entertainment Tonight was renewed through the 2011–12 season, which was the show's 30th season. Since the 2014–15 awards season, the staff and hosts of ET have handled all red carpet event coverage for the cable network Pop (which CBS Television Distribution parent CBS Corporation has owned since August 2013, when it acquired a 50% interest in the network, named at the time as TV Guide Network); event coverage produced by the program airs on that network in the lead-up to award and movie premiere events as an extension of ET, usually under the umbrella title, ET at the (event name).
In its early years, ET was co-produced in association with TeleRep (which ended its association with the program in 1991), Cox Broadcasting (which relinquished its production interest in 1997), and Taft/Great American Broadcasting (which also ended its production association in 1991). Paramount Domestic Television would later absorb the syndication companies that the latter two companies had once owned: Rysher Entertainment (formerly owned by Cox) and Worldvision Enterprises (formerly owned by Taft/Great American).
America on entertainment tonight
The format of the program is composed of breaking news stories of interest from throughout the entertainment industry, exclusive set visits, first looks at upcoming film and television projects, and one-on-one interviews with actors, musicians and other entertainment personalities and newsmakers. Regular segments featured on ET include "The Latest News," a quick round up of the day's biggest stories; "Story from Studio 4," a lengthier analysis of Hollywood's hottest topics; "Real or Rumor," where rumors circulating Hollywood are confirmed or denied.
In its current form, Entertainment Tonight airs on many television stations throughout the United States (primarily in the Eastern and Pacific Time Zones where both air together during the prime access time period) as half of a one-hour entertainment news block that also includes The Insider, a newsmagazine that debuted in September 2004 as a spin-off of an in-depth "behind-the-scenes" segment that originated on its parent series. Three versions of ET were previously compiled and made available to broadcasters: a "standalone" version (which largely omitted references to The Insider), a version for stations that air The Insider just beforehand, and one for those that air The Insider immediately after (both featuring promotions for that program, in addition to those outlining stories to air on the next ET broadcast). Since 2009, the only version that is produced and distributed to those which air Entertainment Tonight is the standalone version, as carriage of The Insider outside of primary markets has been reduced to lower-tier stations and lower profile timeslots (often in late night or on a same-day or day-behind basis in daytime), making complimentary coverage between the two shows impossible. Prior to The Insider, ET had been paired up with sister series Hard Copy until 1998, when most stations that carried ET (including the CBS O&O group) began partnering it with a revival of The Hollywood Squares, which ran until 2004; the show was initially produced and distributed by King World Productions, which was acquired by CBS in 2000, and with the CBS-Viacom merger immediately thereafter, the two shows officially became sister series. The show also provides individualized teasers to some of the stations that air the program to be carried during newscasts that lead into the show.
A one-hour weekend edition, ET Weekend (formerly known as Entertainment This Week until September 1991), originally offered a recap of the week's entertainment news, with most or all episodes later transitioning to center (either primarily or exclusively) around some sort of special theme; though the weekend edition now utilizes either format depending on the episode, most commonly, the format of those broadcasts consists of replays of stories that were shown during the previous week's editions. ET Radio Minute, a daily radio feature, is syndicated by Westwood One.
Since 1984, ET has featured a segment known as the ET Birthdays; airing towards the end of each day's broadcast, bookending the "C" and "D" blocks, it mentions the birthdays of between one and three celebrities; as many as eight are referenced on the weekend editions, separated by day (American Greetings sponsored this segment from 1993 to 2000 which featured its then-corporate mascot, the Birthday Bear; Hallmark Cards, Old Navy, Procter & Gamble and 1-800-Flowers.com succeeded American Greetings as sponsors for short periods, with the segment being unsponsored since 2009). In 1993, a quiz featuring a particular fact relating to a celebrity was incorporated into the segment, with the face of the celebrity being silhouetted with a question mark on it before the reveal at the end of the succeeding commercial break (since 1999, the quiz became a multiple-choice question featuring three celebrities related by their line of work or by a film or television project). In mid-2014, the birthday segment was relegated exclusively to the weekend editions to devote more time in the "D" block to an additional short-form story or episode preview; however, on September 14, 2015, in celebration of the program's 35th season, ET reinstated the birthday list for the weekday broadcasts. As of mid-April 2016, ET cut back on mentioning celebrity birthdays again (by mid-May 2016, the birthday segment is shown only on weekends, although by late June to mid-July 2016 and mid-August 2016, the birthdays appeared sporadically until mid-September 2016); that segment is supposed to be permanently retired by now (i.e. not only on the daily editions, but also on the weekend editions).
The program was created by veteran television producer Alfred Masini, who developed Entertainment Tonight following the success of the 1980 debut of the syndicated soul music/dance program he also created, Solid Gold. Paramount Television president Richard Frank and two of his executives at the studio, vice president of programming John E. Goldhammer and vice president of development Mel Harris, hired managers and producers from local television stations around the United States (such as original managing editor Jim Bellows, formerly of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner) to form the style of Masini's concept. Early on, Frank, Goldhammer and Harris held many discussions with producers, writers and directors about what kind of program ET should be. Although the pilot was executive produced by Jack Haley Jr., Andy Friendly was hired as the show's first producer (Haley remained on the program when it debuted as an executive consultant).
When Entertainment Tonight premiered on September 14, 1981, Ron Hendren was one of the original co-hosts, with Marjorie Wallace and Tom Hallick. Friendly left the show after six weeks, with Goldhammer taking over his role. Around that same time, Dixie Whatley replaced Wallace and Hallick, becoming Hendren's sole co-host. Goldhammer established the program's unique look, sound, pace and reporting style. Friendly put together a diverse staff ranging from former rock roadies to veteran television reporters of the Vietnam War era – some of whom continued to work on the show for more than 20 years. In 1982, Goldhammer hired Mary Hart (who replaced Whatley as Hendren's co-host) and Leeza Gibbons to respectively host the weekday and weekend editions of the program. Hendren departed from the program in 1984, and was replaced as co-host by Robb Weller; Weller left two years later and was replaced by John Tesh.
In its early years, Entertainment Tonight – following a local newscast-style format – consisted primarily of coverage of the latest movies, music and television releases and projects. During Bellows' tenure, the program also produced a series of investigative reports about Hollywood's drug use issues and hiring practices. However, during the 1996–97 season, ET began to incorporate more sensationalistic fare, featuring paid exclusive interviews with controversial and infamous newsmakers of the day – including disgraced Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding, who became notorious for her role in the conspiracy to physically attack rival Nancy Kerrigan at a 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships practice session; Amy Fisher, who appeared with Joey and Mary Jo Buttafuoco, reunited after Fisher's infamous assault on Mary Jo; convicted child molester Mary Kay Letourneau, who married the student she had engaged in an affair with, Vili Fualaau; and attorney Howard K. Stern, who represented Daniel Birkhead in the paternity case of the late Anna Nicole Smith's daughter Dannielynn. ET has also aired exclusive stories related to Anna Nicole Smith, including coverage of her funeral, and her surviving daughter.
In 1996, actor George Clooney decided to boycott Entertainment Tonight to protest the presence of intrusive paparazzi after Hard Copy did an exposé about his love life, violating an agreement that he had with Paramount, which produced and syndicated both shows. In a letter he sent to Paramount, Clooney stated that he would encourage his friends to do the same. Although Clooney has since ended his boycott, Entertainment Tonight has continued to broadcast video and photography taken by celebrity-stalking paparazzi, with some of the staff behind Hard Copy being absorbed into the staff of Entertainment Tonight after that program's 1999 cancellation, though the program's stance softened after its conversion to high definition due to many agencies having not made the conversion at the time it did, along with the increasing prevalence of more aggressive selling techniques by agencies and photos making acquisition of images impossible due to program budget constraints.
On September 8, 2008, Entertainment Tonight began broadcasting in high definition; concurrently, the program moved its production and studio operations from its longtime home at Stage 28 on the Paramount Pictures studio lot to Stage 4 at CBS Studio Center, one of the final steps involving the incorporation of Paramount's former syndication arm, Paramount Domestic Television, into CBS' distribution arms and the adoption of the then-new CBS Television Distribution name, which all took place following the breakup of CBS and the original Viacom into separate companies in December 2005.
Mary Hart stepped down from her role as anchor (having served as the show's primary anchor since 1985) on May 20, 2011, after 29 years with Entertainment Tonight. Mark Steines (who had been with the program since 1995 as a correspondent, and later became Hart's co-host on the weekday broadcasts following the departure of Bob Goen in 2004) and Nancy O'Dell (who joined the program after 15 years as the original co-anchor of rival entertainment newsmagazine Access Hollywood) became the program's primary hosts once Hart left. O'Dell then became the sole host of the show after Steines left on July 27, 2012. Former CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano became O'Dell's permanent co-host on January 7, 2013; he would leave the program in August 2014 to become weekend weather anchor for Good Morning America, and was replaced by Kevin Frazier (who previously worked for ET as a weekend anchor and correspondent from 2004 to 2011, when he became primary anchor of sister series The Insider) on September 8 of that year.
In October 2013, after 19 years with Entertainment Tonight, Linda Bell Blue decided to step down as executive producer of the show, to become the inaugural president of Entertainment Tonight Studios, which was formed in November in conjunction with CBS Global Distribution to expand the ET brand to cable, broadcast and digital platforms through various series and specials.
Behind-the-scenes staffing changes throughout 2014 and technology have also played a role in reducing the show's paparazzi footage considerably. Notably, the rise of celebrity-friendly social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and WhoSay – which many competing entertainment shows have also now incorporated within story segments – has replaced much of the time in the show that had previously been devoted to analyzing celebrity footage. After pressure via a social media campaign by actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell, ET and its sister show The Insider announced in February 2014 that it would no longer accept footage or pictures of the children of celebrities from paparazzi photographers (paparazzi photos featuring children of celebrities while accompanied by their parents continued to be featured occasionally afterward, though with digital blurring of the children's faces to protect their identity; photographs in which they appear without censoring for such purpose now consist solely of those posted on social media platforms or taken during red carpet events with or by their celebrity parents).
Entertainment Tonight has featured many special correspondents who report on particular features for the show, usually those that have had a role in the program that they work on. Paula Abdul served as a special correspondent for ET's coverage of American Idol, while it has also had former Dancing with the Stars contestants act as correspondents to report during the second season (Tatum O'Neal), third season (Lisa Rinna), fifth season (Donny Osmond), ninth season (Marie Osmond) and eleventh season (Niecy Nash) of the competition series. Attorney and former Hard Copy correspondent Diane Diamond is a special correspondent for high-profile criminal trials, notably providing coverage of the investigation following Michael Jackson's death in June 2009. Former American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert served as the fashion correspondent at the 2010 Grammy Awards. Former Dancing with the Stars winner Melissa Rycroft also served as a special correspondent covering parties, award shows and movie premieres.
Former on-air staff
As of 2015, there only two localized versions of Entertainment Tonight are produced in international markets.
The only international ET program currently licensed by CBS Television Distribution is Entertainment Tonight Canada, which premiered on September 12, 2005 on the Global Television Network in Canada, with host Cheryl Hickey and lead correspondent Rick Campanelli. The program is paired with the American version of the program on most of Global's stations, and also contributes to Global's Canadian content requirements. An Arabic version of ET premiered on January 4, 2015 on MBC4 in the Middle East and North Africa.
An Australian version of the program was produced by Nine Network during the 1990s, presented by Richard Wilkins and Marie Patane, with journalist Terry Willesee as a substitute host. This version featured a mix of stories focusing on the Australian entertainment industry and those imported from the flagship American program. Due to cost reductions, the Australian version was cancelled in 2000, with Nine only airing the original American series afterward.
Entertainment Tonight UK a weekly omnibus of local and American-originated content, premiered on Sky One in the United Kingdom in January 2005 and hosted by Irish celebrity Amanda Byram; Sky One also carried the U.S. version of ET on a one- or two-day delay from its American broadcast.
In France, a French language version of Entertainment Tonight aired from 1998 to 2002 under the name Exclusif. The program was originally hosted by Thierry Clopeau (1998) and Emmanuelle Gaume (1998–2000) and Frédéric Joly (1998–2002), and was later hosted by Flavie Flament (2000–2001) and Valérie Bénaïm (2001–2002); Ness, Stéphanie Pillonca, Génie Godula and Jonathan Lambert were among those who served as correspondents. In Brazil, RedeTV! aired a domestic Portuguese language version of the program titled TV Fama (TV Fame), hosted by Nelson Rubens and Flávia Noronha.
Nine Network had aired the original U.S. version of Entertainment Tonight since its debut in September 1982; the program was moved to its secondary digital channel Go! in 2009. In 2012, Nine Network decided not to renew its contract for the U.S. show, with the last episode of the U.S. ET airing on Nine and Go! on 30 June 2012; it was replaced three days later on 2 July 2012 by competitor Extra, through an existing programming contract with Warner Bros. Television Distribution. On July 30, 2012, the free-to-air rights were acquired by Network Ten, through an existing programming contract with CBS Television Distribution, whose parent CBS Corporation is part-owner of the Ten-owned digital channel Eleven; both networks began airing the U.S. version on August 6, 2012, with the previous day's episode airing on Ten at 3.30 p.m. weekdays and a rebroadcast airing after midnight on Eleven. However, the weekend edition airs instead on Foxtel-owned Arena on Sundays at 5.30 p.m. while the weekday edition airs on that channel after 10.00 p.m.
TV3 originally only broadcast the weekday editions of the program in 4:3 standard definition until November 6, 2012, with a separately sourced SD 16:9 widescreen prints being used for its broadcasts of the weekend edition. TV3 now broadcasts the weekday and weekend editions of the program in 16:9 widescreen SD. TV3 currently airs the weekday editions on a same-day as the U.S. broadcast at 4:30 p.m. New Zealand Standard Time, with the weekend edition airing at 1:00 p.m. NZST on Sundays; sister network Four rebroadcasts the program in late night.
Since the launch of Extra in 1993, Entertainment Tonight has faced competition from a growing number of syndicated entertainment news programs; despite being in stiff competition with Access Hollywood, Extra (TV program) and TMZ on TV; the cable-based E! News, its own "sister" program The Insider and even the more general-focus newsmagazine Inside Edition (the latter two of which are also produced by CBS Television Distribution), Entertainment Tonight remains among the ten highest-rated syndicated programs according to Nielsen weekly ratings. During the 2007–08 season, the program's daytime ratings fluctuated between fourth and fifth place due to competition from fellow CBS-syndicated program Judge Judy.