A seasoned entertainment news journalist and two-time Emmy-nominated TV personality, Samantha Harris is currently seen on the world’s #1 entertainment news program, Entertainment Tonight (1981), as a correspondent. In just her first months with the show, she covered the Cannes Film Festival, traveled to two film sets in Hawaii (for interviews with Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman), and also interviewed stars such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Russell Crowe, Sting, Cate Blanchett, Michael Douglas and more!
Samantha is best-known for her eight seasons co-hosting the live ABC hit, Dancing with the Stars (2005), which averaged more than 30 million viewers weekly and was the #2 most-watched show in the U.S. in each of those years. In Season 2, she even kicked up her heals on the ballroom floor to perform a Jive routine with World Smooth Champion and DWTS professional dancer, Jonathan Roberts.
Simultaneously with her time on DWTS, Samantha pulled double hosting duty as she passionately shared her opinion nightly as a panelist and correspondent on the entertainment news program, CBS Television Distribution’s The Insider (2004).
In her first year with the program, she covered President Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.; surfed the North Coast of Oahu during an interview with 19-year-old surfing champion Bethany Hamilton – who lost her arm to a shark attack at age 13; interviewed Oprah Winfrey in Chicago and Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan in LA, in the days following her father’s death; as well as interviewed Hollywood’s A-list on the red carpet at the Emmys, SAG Awards, Golden Globes and Oscars.
Additionally, Samantha made her Broadway debut in summer 2009 in New York City, singing and dancing for sold-out audiences, playing the iconic role of “Roxie Hart” in the long-running musical, “Chicago”.
Samantha has been seen on a myriad of TV shows, including: filling in for Meredith Vieira as a guest host for a week on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (2002); multiple times as a guest host on ABC’s The View (1997); contributing as a special correspondent on ABC’s Good Morning America (1975).
One of her greatest honors was hosting, alongside Regis Philbin, the live official red carpet pre-show for ABC’s 80th Annual Academy Awards: Oscar’s Red Carpet 2008 with Regis Philbin (2008), which garnered nearly one billion viewers, worldwide.
Beginning in January 2005 and continuing for four years, Harris was seen in over 130 countries in 600 million homes on E! Entertainment Television. In addition to writing, producing and reporting daily for E! News, she co-hosted the network’s live award-show coverage for the Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmys. Samantha has also found herself reporting from inside San Quentin Penitentiary as host for E!’s “THS Investigates”, a spin-off series from the producers of E! True Hollywood Story (1996).
Prior to her work on The Insider (2004) and E!, Samantha served as the weekend co-host and full-time correspondent for the nationally syndicated entertainment news magazine, Extra with Billy Bush (1994), which she joined in 2003. As a correspondent who sought out unique stories, Samantha took to the stage performing with Cirque du Soleil, sang a duet with Wayne Newton during his live show in Las Vegas, as well as dancing her way into the arms of the late beloved Patrick Swayze backstage, while he was starring in the LA tour-stop of “Chicago”.
Samantha’s other hosting credits include FOX’s The Next Joe Millionaire (2003), “AMC Access” (a show produced by NBC’s Access Hollywood (1996) for the AMC network).
Harris’ triple-threat talents were noticed within her first years living in Los Angeles. Hot off the North American musical tour Eric Idle: Exploits Monty Python (2002) (where Samantha’s comedic, vocal, and dance performance electrified audiences at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and other prestigious venues), CBS cast her as America’s sweetheart, “Dawn Wells aka Mary Ann”, in its made-for-TV movie Surviving Gilligan’s Island: The Incredibly True Story of the Longest Three Hour Tour in History (2001). Samantha’s other acting credits include the multi-award winning “Reefer Madness!: The New “Hit” Musical (original cast) as well as multiple feature films and television shows.
In addition to gracing the cover of Muscle & Fitness HERS magazine a record four times, Samantha has also been seen on the covers of a variety of other magazine including USA Today magazine, FIRST, Fit Parent. She has been featured in many magazines including Shape, People, Health, Self, and others. As a fitness enthusiast, she loves dancing, cardio-sculpting, Bikram yoga but will also confess… she’s a dessert fanatic!
Samantha is actively involved in various charities. She is on the Entertainment Council of Feeding America and has actively supported the Revlon Run/Walk and What A Pair for cancer research, Operation Smile, P.S. Arts, the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America and others.
In 2009, Samantha was given the honor of making her Wall Street debut by “Ringing The Bell” to open trading at the New York Stock Exchange in front of a television audience of more than 120 million.
Born and raised in Hopkins, MN by a rock concert promoter father and dancer mother – who together created and produced one of the country’s first Renaissance festivals, King Richard’s Faire – Samantha went on to graduate with honors from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, IL. She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, with her husband, Michael Hess, and their two daughters, Josselyn Hess and Hillary Hess.
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