Mary Hart Mary Hart

When Mary Hart announced her intended departure from Entertainment Tonight at the end of May 2011, she promised herself she wouldn't get emotional about her last six months hosting the show. But being honored by the Paley Center for Media at its annual Salute to Excellence gala on November 30 forced Hart to reminisce about the past 29 years on TV's number one entertainment news show.

"It certainly made me nostalgic," she told TV Guide Magazine, moments before accepting an award for her contributions to the television industry. "I have just been so blessed, and so incredibly lucky. It's such a special, special show." 

Hart says the reason for her leaving the show was not one specific thing. "I have said for the last several years that there are other things out there that I have yet to do professionally and I really haven't had time to do them," she says. "I don't know what they are, I don't know what the next turn in my career will be, but I need to have the opportunity to be out there to find it."

That could mean a return to television in another capacity, she says. But first, Hart will finish her duties as co-host, while coming to terms with the fact that she's about to say her farewell. "Facing those emotions as the months go along is going to be difficult," she admits. "But I hope not yet, or I won't survive!"

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