The official word from "Access Hollywood:" Nancy O'Dell is leaving.
Huge news in the tab world, and...well...begs the 'ol question...
Ummm...this statement, below, doesn't offer much guidance.
So, I called a smart industry observer - rather not be named - who had this to say:
"At a time when NBC [owner of 'AH'] is trying to cut corners and costs, she probably put her value a little higher than they felt like going. It probably became a staredown and neither would stare down. And, she believes she's got some currency in the marketplace and they believe the show can go on without her. The fact is, she probably has some currency in the marketplace and the show can go on without her."
This source adds, "in this day and age, talent is becoming an endangered species and over time, you'll see more big names going away than seeing more big names signed to new contracts."
Here's the "Access Hollywood" statement - Billy Bush is about to become a lonely guy, or whatever...
“The original member of the Access Hollywood family, Co-Anchor and respected broadcast journalist Nancy O’Dell, has chosen to leave the show after thirteen years. O’Dell appreciates NBC’s cooperation as she begins this next chapter in her career. Even though she will be leaving for a new opportunity, this decision is based solely on Nancy’s desire to take her career to the next level and is completely amicable. She will continue on with projects as a broadcast entertainment journalist. Having been at Access Hollywood from day one of the show, this has been an incredibly tough decision for O’Dell. She will miss her Access Hollywood family, but looks forward to still seeing them all on the red carpet. O’Dell will be saying goodbye this week, but she will see everyone on New Year’s Day as she hosts the ‘Tournament of Roses Parade’ live on NBC for the ninth consecutive year.”