Named one of ”Television Week’s” 10 Most Bankable Stars in Syndication, Nancy O’Dell has proven to be a force in all areas of her career as a journalist, author, producer and entrepreneur. One of the country’s most respected and leading entertainment journalists, O’Dell serves as the co-anchor of ”Access Hollywood” and is the only on-air talent who has been with the program since its inception. She has also contributed reports to NBC News’s ”Today” show and ”Dateline.” She is a recently published author, with her first book ”FULL OF LIFE: Mom-to-Mom Tips I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was Pregnant,” ranking in the top three of all motherhood books and as a top-selling gift book. ’FULL OF LIFE’ was released by Simon Spotlight in April 2009.
O’Dell has been chosen by NBC for the last nine years to host two of their popular annual network broadcasts, ”The Golden Globes Arrivals Special” and ”The Tournament of Roses Parade.” In 2007, she hosted the backstage portion of ”The Golden Globe Awards” telecast itself. She also hosted the ”Emmy Awards Red Carpet” pre-show for NBC (2006), ABC (2000), and Fox (1999). A member of the Academy of Country Music, O’Dell was the original host and consulting producer of the long-running country music talent search series, ”Nashville Star.” Recently, O’Dell has been seen several times on the Emmy award-winning television series ”30 Rock” in guest appearances, as well as on Disney Channel’s ”Hannah Montana.” In 2006, she appeared in the Golden Globe-nominated film ”Thank You for Smoking” and had a recurring role as herself on FX’s “Dirt” from 2006-2008. In 2009, she hosted NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby with Bob Costas, as well as the Bravo special ”Ladies First: Bravo at the Kentucky Derby.” In 2003 and 2004, she co-hosted ESPN’s ”ESPY Awards Red Carpet Show” and NBC’s broadcast of ”Christmas in Rockefeller Center” in 2004 with Al Roker. O’Dell hosted Miss USA 2004, 2005, 2006 and in 2007, she made history by being the first woman to ever host the beauty competition while pregnant. She also hosted Miss Universe in 2005, and the annual ”Prism Awards” on the FX channel in 2008 and 2009.
An award-winning journalist, O’Dell has been honored with three Associated Press Awards, two Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Awards, an Emmy Award and has been nominated for seven additional Emmys. In 2009, O’Dell was honored by the entire beauty industry for the inaugural Beautiful Humanitarian Award by the Professional Beauty Association, an award given to a public figure who exemplifies beauty both inside and out. In addition, she was nominated two years in a row (1999 and 2000) for the prestigious ICG Publicists Guild Press Award, recognizing excellence in entertainment reporting. She was also ranked by Shape Magazine as one of the 20 Hottest Stars Right Now.
O’Dell began her broadcast career as a reporter and anchor at WPDE-TV in Myrtle Beach, S.C. She later worked as morning news anchor and crime reporter at WCBD-TV in Charleston, S.C. During her career in South Carolina, O’Dell was honored by the Associated Press with the prestigious Best Report of the Year Award, for all media. O’Dell went on to become evening co-anchor and investigative reporter in Miami for NBC’s WTVJ-TV, before joining Access Hollywood.
O’Dell has made guest appearances on a number of programs. She has been a guest co-host on ABC’s ”The View” and featured guest on the “Today” show and has performed skits with Jay Leno on ”The Tonight Show” and with Conan O’Brien on ”Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” She has also been a guest on ”Regis and Kelly,” ”Jimmy Kimmel Live,” ”Larry King Live,” ”Martha Stewart,” ”Dancing with the Stars,” ”Project Runway,” ”Fox & Friends,” ”The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” CNBC’s ”Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo” and CBS’s ”The Late, Late Show.” Additionally, she has served as a special commentator on ”Hardball with Chris Matthews” and ”Sean Hannity.” Additional films and television series in which she has appeared include ”Scream 2,” ”Scream 3,” ”Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat,” ”Ally McBeal,” ”Just Shoot Me,” ”Charmed,” ”Joey,” ”Third Watch,” ”Beverly Hills 90210,” ”Days of Our Lives,” ”Melrose Place” and ”General Hospital.”
Although O’Dell maintains a busy work schedule, she regularly makes time for philanthropic endeavors. O’Dell, a National Vice President of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the National ALS Ambassador, has been working with MDA since her mother was diagnosed with and passed away in 2008 from complications related to ALS. In August of 2009, MDA, O’Dell, and O’Dell’s family formed a foundation in honor of her mother called Betty’s Battle: Fighting ALS. She was inducted into the American Red Cross’ National Celebrity Cabinet in 2002 and remains in that position today. She also serves as a celebrity spokesperson for the March of Dimes (MOD), and is an international board member of Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. In June 2002, Best Buddies honored O’Dell with the organization’s Spirit of Leadership Award. This honor has previously been bestowed upon Muhammad Ali, Maria Shriver and Olympian Carl Lewis.
A native of South Carolina, O’Dell received a great honor when that state’s governor declared Feb. 1, 2006 “Nancy O’Dell Day” in the entire state. In 1998, in recognition of her journalistic success, she became the youngest member ever inducted into South Carolina’s Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. An academic leader early on, O’Dell was valedictorian of her high school class, and is a summa cum laude honors graduate of Clemson University. In 2008, O’Dell was presented with a “Key to the City of Myrtle Beach,” in honor of her career achievements and the pride she brings to her hometown.
O’Dell resides in the Los Angeles area with her husband, Keith, vice president of the technology company Conviva, their daughter, Ashby, and stepsons, Tyler and Carson.