Welcome back, Samantha Harris!
The former ET and Insider correspondent, who also served as co-host of Dancing With the Stars from 2006-2009, returns to Entertainment Tonight, joining Cameron Mathison as the permanent co-anchor of Entertainment Tonight Weekend. She will also serve as a correspondent and fill-in anchor for Nancy O'Dell.
Here are eight fun facts to welcome Samantha back!
1. She has fond memories of her time at Entertainment Tonight from 2010-2012.
"That would be being on the back of a Ducati motorcycle with Tom Cruise riding through the streets of Seville, Spain," Harris recalls when asked for her favorite memory from her earlier ET days. "It’s hard to top that one. I’ve been twirled and dipped by Hugh Jackman which isn’t a bad second. And I’ve been complemented in my yellow dress by Jake Gyllenhaal. These are all very good moments that stick in my mind. Not bad for a day’s work."
2. Her musical guilty pleasures are Disney-themed.
"[There’s] a song called “Rotten to the Core" which is from the Descendants Disney movie,” she says of her playlist guilty pleasure. "I’ve been listening to that a lot in the car – not only when my kids are with me, but often times, I take a good listen to it when they are not in the car. I would say that and I’ve been humming the tune from Beauty and the Beast, because my daughter is in a production of it right now. There seems to be a theme here."
3. She loves Santa Monica.
Harris, who says family is the "one thing she can’t live without," told ET that she loves doing all kinds of fun things with her two daughters and tries to "change it up" as much as possible.
"But if they don’t have school for a day, which last week they didn’t, I took them to the [Santa Monica] pier and we went on rides and hung out and got ice cream and had just a fun time," she says.
She also loves the famous Los Angeles beach for it’s workout challenges.
"My personal favorite spot is the 4th Street stairs in Santa Monica," Harris says. "I love that I can get a beautiful view of the ocean while kicking my own butt doing the 200-stair climb that is offered there, so I get a mix of cardio and some zen."
4. She grew up in a Renaissance Faire. No, really.
"My parents created one of the country’s first renaissance festivals, it’s called King Richard’s Faire," Harris reveals, adding that her mother and sister still run the festival to this day. "It’s in Massachusetts and it runs all fall for eight weekends. I grew up frolicking around this wonderful, 16th century English village with a king and a queen and jesters on horseback and knights and gypsies. I wore every costume and worked every food booth and t-shirt booth on the site from the time I was a pipsqueak until the time I was just out of college."
5. She had a very sweet 16.
Apart from creating his own renaissance faire, Harris’ father also served as a producer for rock concerts that came through her hometown of Minneapolis, leading to arguably one of the sweetest sweet 16 parties ever.
"My 16th birthday was at a Paula Abdul concert with all my friends, with cake and ice cream backstage after the show," she says. "For a Minnesota kid, I had a very unusual, non-Midwest upbringing. Sort of a Hollywood experience in the Midwest. It was really cool."
6. She works out wherever and whenever she can.
Harris is a huge exercise advocate and has appeared on the covers of Shape and Self magazines. But what does she do when she can’t get a full workout in?
"I do two things. One, I run stairs at the parking garage at ET if I have a half hour. There’s also the 40 steps that go down to the LA River right there, so I sometimes do that," Harris reveals. "And then I usually bring a yoga mat with me...I’ll try to get 20 minutes of yoga in. I try, much to the chagrin of the hair and makeup team."
7. She’d love to meet Idina Menzel, but might be too "Frozen" to try and sing with her.
When asked to choose a celeb, living or dead, to have dinner with, Harris says Frozen star Idina Menzel is her go-to.
"I love Broadway and I would just love to pick her brain about her vocal process," she says.
She shoots down the idea of a dinner duet with the performer, however, saying, "That would kind of make me nervous as all get out."
8. Her favorite book is a generational tear-jerker.
Harris says her favorite book is Shel Silverstein’s famous sobfest The Giving Tree.
"Although it makes me cry every time I read it," she admits. "It takes on a whole new meaning when you have a parent reading it to you then when you’re a kid."
Additional reporting by Emily Krauser.
Welcome back, Samantha!