The Glorious Corner: Entertainment Tonight’s Nancy Ordell, Billy Bush, Quentin Tarantino and More

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Nancy Ordell
G. H. Harding

O’DELL OUT AT ET — Nancy O’Dell is leaving her perch as co-host of Entertainment Tonight after nearly a decade with the syndicated entertainment news-magazine. The veteran showbiz journalist made the announcement at the end of Friday’s broadcast.

“Tonight, I’m excited to tell you about the start of a new chapter in my life,” she began. “A new chapter for this small-town, grateful girl from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, who used to watch fellow Carolinian Leeza Gibbons and Mary Hart on Entertainment Tonight thinking, ‘Wow, what beautiful, powerful women and what a cool job they have!’ … to now having that job for nine years and being a veteran host on the red carpet for almost 25 years.”

O’Dell went on to say a friend suggested she make a “life list” by putting her career milestones on one side, and what she still wants to accomplish on the other.

“The first list contains a near embarrassment of riches for me; like being chosen as the host to step into the shoes of the legendary Mary Hart, what an honor, then the people, all the celebrities who have let me into their private worlds, many becoming good friends, and getting to work with so many wonderful and talented people here. I wish I had the time to list names because so many will forever be in my heart, like you, KFray [longtime co-host Kevin Frazier],” she said.

The red carpet veteran said she plans to continue working in the genre and will spend more time with her family.

“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. I’ll be back and it won’t be long,” she explained. “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. She is always my priority and then I’ll focus on my new project.”

O’Dell then thanked her longtime talent rep and friend, John Ferriter, who died last week at 59.

“My manager/agent and dear friend of 20 years, John Ferriter, helped me get this job at ET. He passed away just a week ago. Shortly before his passing, he told me life is too short, do what makes you happy; you’re creating your own best life. I think I’ve heard Oprah say that too… two smart people… but I’m proud to have this show as part of my story.”

She went on to dedicate her final broadcast to Ferriter.

“This last signoff 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. That bond will never change,” she said. “So, it’s not goodbye, but rather just turning the page to the next chapter.”

In a statement, ET executive producer Erin Johnson praised O’Dell for her “dedication” to the series.

“For almost nine years, Nancy has welcomed viewers to ET every night with her signature southern charm. 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,” Johnson said. “We can’t thank Nancy enough for her dedication to keeping ET the gold standard in entertainment news and we have no doubt she will continue to succeed in all future endeavors.”

It’s unclear who will be tapped to replace O’Dell, whose departure from CBSTelevision Distribution’s ET comes amid a sea change in the genre.

Mario Lopez is leaving Extra, and starting in September he’ll join Kit Hoover and Scott Evans as host of Access Hollywood and its daytime counterpart, Access Daily (formerly Access Live).

Billy Bush

Meanwhile three years after exiting NBC’s Today, Billy Bush will anchor a revamped version of the syndicated Extra. The show was acquired by Fox Television Stations in seven major markets, and moves in those markets from NBC to Fox in fall 2019. The new version is titled Extra Extra.

O’Dell and Bush used to co-host Access Hollywood together and were a formidable pair for their time there. And, let’s not forget John Tesh was the original co-host forET.

Also, Today’s Natalie Morales, who left the East Coast to work for Access Hollywoodand then was surprisingly let go. Truth be told, she was excellent.

Sea change indeed.

Quentin Tarantino

OUATIH — Quentin Tarantino’s 9th film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, packs a wallop at every turn. Yes, there’s his patented unbridled violence at the end of the film; but, there’s a distinct move to tell several stories in a way he never has before. 

Leonardo Di Caprio and Brad Pitt as close confidants, unleash almost a buddy-movie that’s hard not to love. Leo’s the actor Rick Dalton and Pitt’s his stunt man Cliff Booth. Peppered with fantastic interludes and acting, DiCaprio is nothing short of amazing, none more so that when he’s in his trailer doubting his own abilities and talking to himself while looking into a mirror. Just a stellar scene.

Pitt has never been better as the world weary stunt-man, who may or may not have killed his wife and gotten way with it. The camera loves him and his impish antics delight at every turn. Especially in a scene with Bruce Lee. 

Really dazzling is Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate. From her amazing outfits to a scene where she watches herself on screen in a movie theater, she is just spectacular. One critic carped that she wasn’t used enough and I strongly disagree. She’s marvelous.

The last third of the movie delves directly into Tarantino’s strongest suit, but doesn’t  distract from the overall film . Tarantino’s uses some terrific actors to their strongest suit: Kurt Russell, Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Nicholas Hammond. (the original Spider Man on film) Bruce Dern; Al Pacino … just sensational.

Re-tooling parts of L. A. as the L. A. of the 60’s is just great. One sequence when dozens of stores and restaurants turn on their outside lights is simply terrific. His use of music from the 60’s is superb as well. Neil Diamond, Paul revere and The Raiders and Jose Feliciano … just amazing.

It’s not the Tarantino you’d expect, but an even-better Tarantino. Complex, compelling and riveting. I loved it. Best movie I’ve seen this year.


LAEMMLE FOR SALE — (Via Deadline) Deadline hears that family-owned Los Angeles-based arthouse chain Laemmle Theatres is up for sale.

At this point in time, it’s not clear whether it will be a portion or the entire 41-screen chain. Laemmle Theatres also touts an upcoming new 7-plex with a 500-seat auditorium in Newhall, CA, not far from the Melody Ranch where Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Django Unchained, as well as HBO’s Westworld and Deadwood were filmed. Laemmle’s Newhall cinema is expected to open toward the end of the year.

The chain has been renowned throughout its history for booking Oscar qualifying runs for contenders, including independent pics, shorts and documentaries.

The Laemmle circuit was started in 1938 by Max Laemmle, and it has spanned three generations, including Max’s son Robert, and Robert’s son, Greg, now operating the business. Robert’s father Max and Uncle Kurt were cousins of Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle. Robert bought his first movie theater in Highland Park of Los Angeles. There are currently nine locations: Claremont 5 in Claremont, the Ahrya Fine Arts center on Wilshire Blvd., The Glendale, The Santa Monica Film Center, the Beverly Hills Music Hall, the Noho 7 in North Hollywood, The Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, the Royal on Santa Monica and the Town Center 5 in Encino, CA.

Laemmle’s upcoming multiplex in Newhall fills a void in the community which is in need of a fresh new movie theater (the nearby Regal multiplexes in Valencia and Canyon Country are long overdue for a significant 21st Century upgrade). The Daily News reported back in October that Laemmle will own that theater through its single purpose entity Laemmle Newhall LLC. The City of Santa Clarita gave Laemmle the land to build on as well as some additional unreported financial incentives.

Robert Miller’s Project Grand Slam @MusikFest
Efrem Harkham

SHORT TAKES — Living The Luxe Life, written by Efrem Harkham and celebrity-biographer Mark Bego, is out on September 3 via Skyhorse Publishing. Harkham owns the Luxe Sunset Blvd and Luxe Rodeo Drive hotels. A gala  L.A. launch event will take place at their Sunset location on September 5 … SIGHTING: Instinct’s Danny Mastrogiorgio walking on Court Street in Brooklyn Heights … Closing the night at MusikFest Thursday night (on the Americaplatz stage) was Robert Miller’s Project Grand Slam, whose 2018 album Trippin’ hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart. They’re charting now with their just-released album PGS 7 … If you missed Roger Friedman’s Rolling Stones review (from his Showbiz 411), it was a classic. Here it is: … and, Project Grand Slam’s Robert Miller guests on Zach Martin’s Big Fat American podcast this week.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tony King; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Race Taylor; Larry Bryant; Bruce Goldberg; Dade Hayes; Bruce Haring; Coatimundi; Judd Bernard; Rebecca Pollock; Roy Trakin; Hurrah’s; Pete Gideon; Mark Kamins; Joel Diamond; and, CHIP.

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