Broadcast journalist Nischelle Turner has made history at CBS, becoming the first Black woman to serve as a host of Entertainment Tonight, a program which has been running for 40 years.
Turner started her new chapter on Thursday, working alongside co-host Kevin Frazier. The two hosts also made history together, becoming the first two Black people to host ET in a full-time capacity, Variety reported.
“She is warm, thoughtful and full of energy,” Erin Johnson, Entertainment Tonight executive producer, said about Turner in a statement. “Celebrities respect her skills as a seasoned journalist, and our audience has taken notice of her fun chemistry with Kevin.”
The new host received news about her promotion last month while shooting the upcoming reality series, Secret Celebrity Renovation, another CBS show, The New York Times reported.
“I just started crying on the street when I got the news,” she said. “People were probably like, ‘What’s wrong with her?’ But I was so happy.”
The 46-year-old has worked as a weekend anchor, correspondent and substitute weekday anchor for Entertainment Tonight since 2014. She has won four Daytime Emmy Awards while reporting from London, Tokyo, Berlin and New Zealand.
Growing up in Columbia, Missouri, Turner loved baseball. Her favorite athlete was José Oquendo, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals.
“He could do anything,” she said. “And that’s what I tried to pattern my career after.”
The University of Missouri graduate started her career in 1998 at WEHT, an ABC affiliate in Evansville, Indiana, where she worked as a reporter and fill-in anchor. She moved to New Orleans a few years later, becoming a weekday reporter and weekend anchor for a Fox affiliate. Turner then stopped at KTTV in Los Angeles in 2004, working as a reporter on Good Day LA and an anchor on Good Day LA Weekend.
The anchor won several awards when she returned to New Orleans and covered Hurricane Katrina for Good Day LA. In 2007, she worked as a sideline reporter for Fox NFL Sunday. The sports reporter also covered baseball and basketball for Fox.
Turner said she is now seeing more diversity in news, particularly at local stations.
“You look at local news stations now and see all races and ages,” she said. “It’s a slow burn, but I really do see things changing.”
She is proud to have contributed to the change.
“It’s so special to be a trailblazer in this arena,” she said. “I hope young girls see me and think they can do this, too.”
The trailblazer is also looking forward to hosting Secret Celebrity Renovation, a reality series that will air this summer. On the show, celebrities provide a surprise home renovation to a person who has helped guide them to success.