Television personality Leeza Gibbons first gained national attention as a correspondent for the news show Entertainment Tonight, followed closely by a similar role on Entertainment This Week, a weekly program. She later went on to host her own long-running talk show, Leeza, garnering three Daytime Emmys along the way. When Leeza left the air, Gibbons signed on with Extra—a spot similar to the one that had launched her career years before. Gibbons headed to prime-time TV in 2007, when she became a celebrity contestant on the reality dance show Dancing with the Stars. In 2011, she returned to the hosting realm with the lifestyle show America Now, joining Bill Rancic as co-host.
Born on March 26, 1957, in Hartsville, South Carolina, Leeza Kim Gibbons graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in journalism and mass communication. Leeza Gibbons's first television job was as a news anchor on a local news program in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
By the early 1980s, she had moved to New York City and was co-hosting Two on the Town at WCBS, whose short life proved to be a blessing in disguise: In 1984, Gibbons's career took off when Entertainment Tonight signed her on as a field correspondent. She proved to be a popular TV personality, and began filling in for Mary Hart on ET's anchor desk, continuing on in this role throughout the 1980s and '90s. Gibbons also co-hosted the weekly news show Entertainment This Week, and continued to gain attention in the entertainment broadcasting arena.
Acclaimed Talk Show Host
In the 1990s, Gibbons began co-hosting John and Leeza with former Entertainment Tonight co-host John Tesh, but after just one season, Tesh left the show, and Gibbons had the hosting duties to herself for the remainder of the series. She soon switched gears to begin hosting her own daily talk show, simply titled Leeza, which aired for the first time in January 1994. The television lineup was cluttered with talk shows at the time, but Leeza took the high road, leaving out the brawls and madness of such shows as The Jerry Springer Show and Geraldo, and focusing chiefly on women’s issues.
The show became a success, and Gibbons became the executive producer, steering the program until it came to a close in 2000. By the time it went off the air, Leeza had been nominated for 27 Daytime Emmys—including for outstanding talk show and outstanding talk show host—and won three. Gibbons also earned a Hollywood Walk of Fame star during this period.
Post-Leeza, Gibbons served as anchor for the entertainment news program Extra from 2000 to 2002, and has been co-hosting America Now with Bill Rancic since late 2010. She also made an appearance as a celebrity contestant on the reality show Dancing with the Stars in 2007. In 2015, she was crowned the winner of Celebrity Apprentice, beating out Geraldo Rivera.
Outside of TV, Gibbons has been hosting and producing the nationally syndicated radio program Hollywood Confidential since 1995. She also formed Leeza Gibbons Enterprises and the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, which provides, according to her website, “free services for family caregivers who are caring for someone they love who is sick or dying.” Additionally, she serves on the CIRM Stem Cell Board in California.
Gibbons has been married four times and has three children—two sons and a daughter.
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