The latest news items and gossip from the world of show business were presented in straight newscast fashion on ‘Entertainment Tonight’. To stay up-to-the-minute, ‘ET’ was fed daily by satellite to stations around the country, most of which carried it live. Many of the stories hardly deserved that urgency – who was leaving what series, who was seen going out with whom, hype for the latest movies and shows – but an audience anxious for the latest celebrity scuttlebutt, no matter how trivial, made the program a hit from coast to coast.
There has been considerable turnover in the host assignments on ‘ET’, as indicated below:
Marjorie Wallace (1981), Tom Hallick (1981), Ron Hendren (1981 – 1982), Dixie Whatley (1981 – 1982), Mary Hart (1982 - current), Robb Weller (1984 – 1986), John Tesh (1986 – 1996), Bob Goen (1996 – 2004) and Mark Steines (2004 - current).
Marjorie Wallace (1981), Tom Hallick (1981), Ron Hendren (1981 – 1982), Dixie Whatley (1981 – 1984), Steve Edwards (1982 – 1983), Alan Arthur (1983 – 1984), Robb Weller (1984 – 1989), Leeza Gibbons (1984 – 1995), John Tesh (1989 – 1996), Bob Goen (1993 – 1999), Julie Moran (1995 – 1999), Jann Carl (1999 - ) and Mark Steins (1999 - current)
The original team, which appeared on both the week-night edition and the one hour weekend recap, consisted of actor Tom Hallick, former Miss World Marjorie Wallace and critic Ron Hendren. Only Hendren survived; Hallick was dropped after a month and Wallace a month after that. Of their many successors, two became cultural icons of a sort, even doing occasional cameos as themselves) on other shows and in moves; Mary Hart, with her winsome manner and shapely legs; and John Tesh, the tall, handsome co-host whose parallel career in New Age music endeared him to the middle-aged set, but made him the butt of a thousand jokes among the hipper crowd. Married to actress Connie Sellecca, Tesh left the show in May 1996 to pursue a full-time music career as a keyboardist and writer.
Another familiar face, with the show since its debut, was nerdy but authoritative movie critic, Leonard Maltin. Others who have passed through include gossip mavens Bill Harris (1984 – 1985). This weekend recap, originally called ‘Entertainment This Week’, reverted to simply ‘Entertainment Tonight’ in 1990.
It was announced on January 30, 2006, that Entertainment Tonight has been renewed through the 2011–2012 season, which will be the show's 31st season. On September 8, 2008, the program began to air in high definition with the move of the program from their longtime home at Stage 28 on the Paramount Studios lot to the CBS Studio Center.