Maria Menounos joins "Extra" as host for the show's 18th season, premiering September 12, 2011. Maria will be featured on the daily show as she reports with Mario Lopez from "Extra's" home at The Grove in Los Angeles. Additionally, Menounos will cover all the top entertainment events, celebrity interviews, red-carpets and movie premieres with her uncompromising and daring interview style while maintaining her fun-loving persona.
In August 2011, Menounos signed a multi-year deal with Telepictures Productions to develop new projects in which she would serve as host and executive producer. In addition, Menounos will have on-air duties on "Dr. Drew's Lifechangers," hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky and set to debut on The CW on September 19, 2011.
As a journalist, Menounos holds the distinct honor of having conducted the only interview with the entire Obama family. The interview was touted by political experts as one of the defining moments leading to Obama's victory.
Menounos' achievements have thus far set industry milestones. Her groundbreaking conversational style of reporting led her, at the age of 22, to become the youngest person ever to host "Entertainment Tonight." She would go on to do the same for the "Today" show and "Nightly News."
But the milestones don't end there. Menounos is the first person in the history of Hollywood to report for network news and star in a wide-release feature film.
On the big screen, she starred in the romantic comedy "Kickin It Old Skool" opposite Jamie Kennedy, and played herself in the Ben Stiller comedy "Tropic Thunder." She also appeared in the 20th Century Fox sci-fi/action movie "Fantastic Four." Her small-screen acting endeavors include guest roles on CBS' "Without a Trace," NBC's "Scrubs" and HBO's "Entourage" as well as a recurring role on the CW's "One Tree Hill." While at "Entertainment Tonight," Menounos hosted "ET on MTV" and "ET on VH-1," both of which soared to number-one weekend ratings on their respective networks. At NBC, Maria was a correspondent for "Nightly News," "Today," "Access Hollywood," and "Dateline."
Menounos is the international spokesperson and face of Pantene hair care products. In 2009 and 2010, she appeared on "Maxim's Hot 100 List." She has been one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful," and bested Charlize Theron and Jessica Alba for "Cyber Vixen of the Year Award" at the Spike Video Game Awards. Menounos starred opposite Sir Sean Connery in the video game "James Bond 007: From Russia with Love," and personally bestowed the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award on Connery. She has been in the top five of the askmen.com poll for "the girl men most want to marry," along with the likes of Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron, and was first runner-up in "the Best Damn Sports Show's" annual Sweet Sixteen of Beauties competition. Menounos hosted and sang at the annual 2006 Eurovision Music Competition Awards in Athens, Greece for an audience of 600 million viewers.
As a filmmaker, Menounos has directed and produced several films, which have played most of the major film festivals including Tribeca, South-by-Southwest, Hollywood, Palm Springs, Boston and Cinevegas. Menounos recently produced the comedy film "Serial Buddies," starring the likes of Christopher Lloyd, Chris McDonald, Kathie Lee Gifford, Henry Winkler and Artie Lang.
Menounos attended Boston's Emerson College, where she double-majored in broadcast journalism and film. At Emerson, she became the first freshman in the school's 125-year history to garner the prestigious EVVY award for Best Newscaster. After her junior year, Menounos became an international correspondent for Channel One News - launch pad for such reporters as Anderson Cooper. At Channel One, Menounos interviewed President George W. Bush and traveled the globe reporting on world affairs. Her coverage of the AIDS virus in South Africa inspired her to dedicate herself to charity work and to create the non-profit, Take Action Hollywood! (TAH!).
TAH! is a charity whose mission is to utilize the power of the entertainment industry and the production medium to educate, empower and raise social awareness. Menounos and TAH! have teamed with various organizations such as The Weinstein Company, Tide, Channel One News, the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Nike, and Cosmo Magazine. TAH! has helped raise awareness for diabetes, pet adoption, women's suffering, MS, anti-racism and countless other causes. Menounos and TAH! helped secure distribution for the award-nominated Miramax holocaust documentary "Paperclips." Menounos and TAH! created the "Take Action-One Cup," a competition via Channel One designed to empower students and communities nationwide to confront social issues. Menounos and TAH! teamed with NIKE for their "Let Me Play" initiative to refurbish national neighborhood playgrounds. Menounos and TAH! created the annual "Day of Beauty" at L.A. Children's Hospital, where Hollywood stylists and other celebrities apply makeovers to terminally ill children. As a Diabetes Awareness Ambassador for the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Menounos has spoken on Capitol Hill and is working with lobbyists on improving treatment for the disease, worldwide.
Menounos' career has been groundbreaking and will no doubt be emulated by many to come. Incredibly, Menounos' career remains in relative infancy and has much more room to blossom. A girl who did not speak English until the third grade and one who worked as a janitor cleaning Boston nightclubs throughout her adolescence, Menounos is proof that you can come from humble beginnings and succeed. She is proof that you can do it all. Most importantly, she is proof that you can remain true to yourself and humble in the process.
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