A magazine-format journalistic television series, created by Al Masini in 1981 and originally produced and distributed by Paramount, featuring Mary Hart and John Tesh and a score of other hosts and reporters discussing the recent news in Hollywood. A major enabler of the Hollywood Hype Machine, as well as a tabloid journal, it's a mixture of hype, interviews, and sensationalism about the latest rumors and dating habits of the rich and famous. Airs daily in half-hour segments, and has done so for years. Country-specific spin-offs have popped up in the UK, Canada, Brazil, and others. The show is now produced and distributed by CBS, which replaced Paramount successor CBS Paramount Television after the CBS-Viacom breakup in 2005.
This series contains examples of:
- Every Episode Ending: Before they would end the program, they would do a birthday announcement.
- Fanfare: Composed by Michael Mark.
- Fanservice: Movies featuring strippers or bikinis will get a lot more hype than you'd normally expect. When Striptease was coming out, ET literally did weeks of hype, chatting up every single star of the movie, showing as many clips of Demi Moore's fit body doing strip-teases in bikinis, and nearly taking everything off. When the movie bombed, they simply dropped it and moved on to something else. John Tesh actually hated covering these types of stories, and it proved to be a major factor in him departing in 1996 and being replaced by weekend co-anchor (and failed game show host) Bob Goen.
- Hollywood Hype Machine: Pretty much its sole purpose is to "hype" the latest movies, music, and television, doing interviews with the stars, and general promotion. It worked hand-in-hand with the Hollywood studios to create new stars (it was a major proponent of Matthew McConaughey when he was supposed to be the "Next Big Thing", and constantly touted him as such) and make big hits. It was mutually beneficial, because after all, without hype, the movies might fail, and if the movies fail, ET wouldn't have as much to talk about. It wasn't always just hype, however, especially during the first two years, when Jim Bellows served as managing editor. Under Bellows' watch, in addition to general entertainment promotion, the show would frequently feature investigative reports about the entertainment industry's drug use and hiring practices.note
- Magazine Show: One of the Trope Codifiers.
- Paparazzi: A lot of footage of celebrities came from them for many years; has been tamped down as new management came in and decided to finally stop out-TMZ'ing TMZ before they lost many celebrities from even contributing to the program. Celebrity-run social media accounts have also helped push this type of footage off ET.
- She's Got Legs: Mary Hart is famous for this.
- Significant Birth Date: At the end of each episode, They would announce a list of celebrity birthdays.
- Spin-Off: Multiple versions in various markets, and The Insider, another show of the same ilk.
- Tabloid Melodrama: Since 1999, when the staffers at sister show Hard Copy lost their jobs and needed a place to work elsewhere on the Paramount lot, the show has had a lot of this. After the executive producer of the show from then until 2014, Linda Bell Blue was finally gently nudged out the door, the tabloid content has also quietly been pushed away.
- Trope Co. Trope of the Week: The birthday segment, sponsored for a long time by American Greetings.
- Unperson: Unless a program is very dominant in the ratings, don't expect Fox or NBC's TV shows to be promoted here (in the latter case especially, as the NBC-produced Spirited Competitor Access Hollywood claims dibs for their shows), appropriate for a show produced by CBS's syndication division and aired on many ABC stations; both networks get the bulk of ET attention for television series promotion.
- Wolverine Publicity: The show seems to think that The Big Chill, a 1983 film about Baby Boomers is the greatest film of all time and has days of footage about it. Every time a year ending in "3" or "8" or a new home media release comes around, expect to be reminded of how this movie only thought of by most as filler on HBO or USA Network is the best two hours ever put to celluloid by this program.