Exclusive: ‘Insider's’ Lara Spencer Will Replace Mary Hart on ‘ET’

“Insider” host Lara Spencer will replace longtime “Entertainment Tonight” anchor Mary Hart when she departs

EXCLUSIVE

Lara Spencer, host of "The Insider," will be taking over at the "Entertainment Tonight" anchor's desk following the departure of Mary Hart, TheWrap has learned.

On Thursday, Hart, who turns 60 in November and had been with the CBS Television syndicated show for 29 years, announced she would be leaving "Entertainment Tonight" after the coming season.

An individual close to the show told TheWrap that Spencer will be Hart's replacement, a deal that's been in place for several months. Hart's departure, according to the person, has been planned for years.

Charlie Dougiello, Spencer's publicist, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TheWrap. Representatives for CBS Television declined to comment. 

In addition to her gig on "The Insider," 41-year-old Spencer is a regular contributor to CBS' "Early Show" and CBS TV's syndicated talk show "Rachael Ray." Spencer secured the "Entertainment Tonight" gig during her most recent round of contract talks.

Both "The Insider" and "Entertainment Tonight" are produced and distributed by CBS. "The Insider" debuted as a spinoff of "Entertainment Tonight" in 2004. 

Hart has been one of the entertainment industry's most enduring figures since her debut on "Entertainment Tonight" nearly three decades ago. She first appeared on the show in 1982. At the time, Ronald Reagan was President, Michael Jackson had yet to release "Thriller" and Sylvester Stallone was a huge action star (oh, wait, he's still around too). 

Many different men have served as Hart's co-anchor during her tenure on "Entertainment Tonight," but Hart has remained a constant presence on the show. "Entertainment Tonight" premiered in 1981 and has been renewed through the 2012-13 season, which will be the show's thirty-second.