Emmy Award-winning TV personality Nancy O’Dell will stay up late to host the biggest celebration of the year and ring in 2011 on NEW YEAR’S EVE LIVE airing Friday, Dec. 31 (11:00 PM-12:30 AM ET live; CT/MT/PT tape-delayed) on FOX. O’Dell will help count down to 2011 during the ultimate year-end bash featuring the year’s chart-topping musical guests, including multi-platinum recording artist Travie McCoy and AMERICAN IDOL finalist David Archuleta.
As 2011 nears, FOX cameras will capture every electrifying moment from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and the heart of New York City as the world-famous New Year’s Eve Ball makes its descent into Times Square.
“I am so excited to ring in New Year’s Eve from Las Vegas on FOX,” said O’Dell. “This experience will be an anomaly of sorts for me. For more than 10 years, I’ve missed the countdown to midnight because I’ve had to be up so early on New Year’s Day to host a parade. So I am beyond happy to see 2011 come in and to celebrate with the nation! You’re going to see a very enthusiastic host!”
NEW YEAR’S EVE LIVE is executive-produced by Bob Bain, produced by Paul Flattery and directed by Michael Dempsey.
What are you looking forward to the most with hosting the show?
Nancy O’Dell: I think, literally about seeing New Year’s Eve come in. I say 2011 seems like a great year career-wise for me because there are a lot of things that I’m getting to do that I’ve always wanted to do, like hosting a New Year’s Eve special was one of the things on my career goal list that I wanted to do. So when FOX called me to host it, I was like, “You’re kidding,” because it was really one of the things that I really wanted to do, in addition to doing a show with Oprah, which I get to do, and Entertainment Tonight.
So it seems like 2011, to be ringing it in, that feels really special because it seems like such a new road that I’m going down career-wise. It just feels like a new life, so to speak, because I’m doing all these new things and things that I’ve wanted to do career-wise. To actually see the New Year come in, I’m just literally looking forward to that because 2011 is going to be a big year, and going to be über excited because I just haven’t had the chance to even see the ball drop and to see performances, and great performances, and be part of a live show. I’ve been in bed by 7:00 or 8:00 for the past 10 years on New Year’s Eve.
How do you balance having fun in the moment with doing your job as host?
Nancy O’Dell: It’s funny. A lot of people ask me that. You do have the business that you need to attend to, but the great thing about it is that it is live. A lot of times some people feel more nervous, but I really like the fact that it’s live and it’s FOX, so they’re fun. If something happens, then you just go with the flow because that is kind of what the network stands for, a lot of fun and a lot of energy.
Having done live for so many different years, it doesn’t feel like too much pressure. I really do enjoy the performances. I just did AMERICAN COUNTRY AWARDS for FOX the other day, and I love country music. Even though it was live, and I was announcing throughout the show and doing some interviews, I was loving it and enjoying the performances. So I think that it’s going to be easy for me to still enjoy the performances. I was a big fan of David Archuleta on AMERICAN IDOL, and was pulling for him because he’s so frickin cute. So I’m looking forward to seeing him perform. He’s got such a gorgeous voice.
You said in the past you were not able to see the ball drop. Can you tell us a little bit on how you’re preparing for this year’s show and what are some of your New Year’s resolutions?
Nancy O’Dell: Well, one of the things I’ve been doing is my daughter knows how to count to four, and she’s only three and a half, so she’s actually been helping me to count backwards. I thought that was a fun and clever way to teach her how to count backwards, so we’ve been practicing the countdown to the New Year. That’s been a fun way to incorporate some family moments with some hosting duty, not that I really needed the practice counting backwards, but it was a fun way to teach her, so I’m looking forward to that.
As far as resolutions, I have the same resolution that I do every single year, and it sounds a little bit cliché, but it’s so true because you can do the diet resolutions, and you never quite stick to them, so I never do any of those. Mine, and I think that it actually lends to a much more healthy life than going with some diet or something is to say, I’m going to look at everything with the glass half full, not half empty. So positivity is just something that I tell myself at the end of every year that I’m trying to look forward to as far as the new year comes in, and to really try and look at everything in a positive light and not the negative light, and not go woe is me, but go, yes. Look at everything that we get to do in the New Year, and that seems to have worked in the past years for me and having a healthy and happy life because it’s so much about attitude.
You’ll be co-hosting the new show on the Oprah Network, which is Your OWN Show. Are you excited about that, and can you tell us a bit about the show?
Nancy O’Dell: I’m so excited about it. It’s called Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star. Like I said, one of my career goals that I’ve always wanted to do was work with Oprah, so when I got the phone call that Oprah and Mark Burnett want you to host this show on her new network, I was like, “Oh, my gosh. You’re kidding me.” Something that I’ve always wanted to do was work with Oprah, and I was like, “Where do I sign?”
Then I said, “Do you want me to pay you? My God, you’re actually going to pay me? You’re kidding.” So it was an easy and quick decision. I honestly didn’t really care how much they paid me. I was like, I just want to do the show with Oprah, and it was a thrill because I actually did get to host several episodes with her and to watch her in action and to talk to her and have some moments with her was just a big thrill. It’s going to be a great show, and they had tens of thousands of people enter from across the country via the Internet. They held auditions in many different cities, so they really came down with ten wonderful personalities who will compete to have their own show. Oprah is so great at cultivating personalities like Dr. Phil and Rachel Ray and Dr. Oz, so she’s doing basically the same thing here. Whoever wins the competition will have their own show on her network, so not a bad way to start out.
On taking chances and her exit from Access Hollywood:
Nancy O’Dell: I think that taking chances is one thing. Leaving Access after 13 years when I still had 2 years left of my contract was one of the scariest things that I’ve ever done in my life, but it just didn’t feel like the right fit anymore. I think that if you try and lead your life in the right way—and I really try. I’ve said this to so many different people, so I really and truly mean it. I’m not saying it because I’m just talking to a bunch of reporters.
I honestly believe that if you try and lead your life in the right way, and you treat people really well, then things come back around. Things don’t wind up biting you in the butt. They come back around. I think that’s what happened. It was scary for me, but it was something that I knew that I needed to do to be happy, leave Access, and like I said, it didn’t feel like the right fit anymore. So it was scary, but then things came back around, and all of a sudden…
I had no idea when I left Access that Mary would, several months later, announce that this was her final season, and that that job would even be a possibility for me. It’s just wild how things happen the way that they do. Hopefully it’s because you’ve, like I said for a New Year’s resolution, try and look at things as the glass half full and not half empty, and really believe that if you try your best to lead your life, I’m sure you have things that happen along the way. But if you try your best to lead your life the right way, then I’m a firm believer that things will come back around.
By: Daedrian McNaughton