Nischelle Turner is the first African-American woman to host ‘Entertainment Tonight.’
CBS revealed that the television veteran would co-host the long-running entertainment and celebrity news show with Kevin Frazier.
The first Black female face she remembers seeing on television was a then-University of Missouri-Columbia grad, April Eaton, on the local NBC affiliate while broadcast journalist Nischelle Turner was growing up on a farm in Columbia, Mo.
In an interview on Wednesday, she said, “I was floored.” “I had no idea anyone who looked like me could do anything like this.”
Turner will now host the nightly broadcast of “Entertainment Tonight” for the first time in the show’s 40-year history, CBS reported Thursday. Starting Thursday night, she will be joined by host Kevin Frazier, who is also Black. Turner’s promotion is the first time the show’s cast is completely made up of people of color.
In a statement, Erin Johnson, an executive producer of the long-running entertainment and celebrity news show, said, “She is soft, thoughtful, and full of energy.” “Celebrities admire her as a seasoned journalist, and our audience has noticed her enjoyable chemistry with Kevin,” says the producer.
Last month, Turner was in Philadelphia filming another CBS program, the upcoming reality series “Secret Celebrity Renovation,” when she received the call that she had been promoted from her role as a correspondent and weekend co-host of “Entertainment Tonight.”
“When I got the news, I just started crying on the street,” she said. “People probably think, ‘What is wrong with her?’ but I was in such a good mood.”
Turner, 46, has worked for “Entertainment Tonight” since 2014 as a weekend reporter, correspondent, and replacement weekday anchor, receiving four Daytime Emmy Awards while reporting from London, Tokyo, Berlin, and New Zealand. She’s also a regular contributor to CNN, where she can be seen in entertainment segments on shows like “CNN Newsroom,” “New Day,” and “CNN Tonight.”
But she didn’t set out to be an entertainment reporter. José Oquendo, a so-called five-tool player for the St. Louis Cardinals who could bat, slug, run, field, and throw — he literally played every on-field position — was her favorite player growing up.
She said, “He could do something.” “And it was after that that I tried to model my career.”
She started her career as a reporter and fill-in anchor at WEHT, the ABC affiliate in Evansville, Ind., after graduating from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and broadcast news in 1998. Her goal, she said, was to interact with viewers from the outset.
“That’s something I’m always proud of,” she said. “Being very intimate and communicating with people to a one-on-one basis. I want them to think of her as “my neighbor” or “my best friend.”
She moved to New Orleans in 2000 to work for the city’s Fox affiliate as a weekday reporter and weekend anchor. Then it was off to the West Coast, where she worked as a reporter on “Good Day LA” and as an anchor on “Good Day LA Weekend” for Fox’s KTTV in Los Angeles in 2004. She returned to New Orleans just a few months later to cover Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath for “Good Day LA,” for which she received many awards.
She started working as a sideline reporter for “Fox NFL Sunday” in 2007. She also covered baseball and basketball for Fox, where she started to notice more people with similar features to her.
“You will see people of all races and ages on local news channels now,” she said. “It’s a slow burn, but I’m seeing things shift.”
She is preparing to host “Secret Celebrity Renovation” this summer in addition to her current appearance on “Entertainment Tonight,” which is located in Los Angeles. Celebrities from the television, music, and sports worlds surprise anyone who has helped them achieve success with a home renovation on the show.
If she’s on a reality show or a news program, she aspires to be a role model.
“To be a trailblazer in this arena is so special,” she said. “I hope young girls see me and believe they, too, can do this.”