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Mary Hart Gets Ready to Say Goodbye

There’s a whole lot of Mary Hart love being shown in the media this week ahead of her final appearance tonight on Entertainment Tonight. And she deserves every bit of it.

Hart is the Johnny Carson of the entertainment TV news magazine world, retiring at the top of her personal game after 29 years on the air. Joining her for an ET send-off taped yesterday were a number of her former male co-hosts, including the best one of them all, John Tesh. Those two had major on-air chemistry, the kind that LA TV station execs dream of when envisioning ideal local news anchor pairings. The latest crowning tributes include one from Brooks Barnes of the New York Times:

“Without Mary, ET starts to look like what it is–kind of dear and not particularly edgy,” said Martin Kaplan, the director of the Norman Lear Center for the study of entertainment and society at the University of Southern California. “I don’t know how large the cultural niche is for dear in a Perez Hilton, TMZ, Gawker world.”

Too true. With Hart replaced by Nancy O’Dell, ET will also become that much more interchangeable with Extra, Access Hollywood, and The Insider.

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