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September 2007

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Fall TV Preview: Samantha Harris

This is part of our Fall TV Preview in the Sep/Oct 2007 issue.

The Dancing With the Stars co-host has her own production due this month -- her first child.

She has juggled jobs as a correspondent for E! Entertainment Television and, during its production season, as co-host of Dancing With the Stars, and this fall Samantha Harris will be doing both in her ninth month of pregnancy, as she's due to deliver her first child in early October. She plans to work full time until then. "I'm the best when I'm busy and have a lot to juggle," she says, noting that she and her husband Michael plan to keep their child's sex a mystery until the birth. "We want to be surprised."

Also a mystery as of this writing are the names of the stars who'll vie for bragging rights and a tacky disco ball trophy on the latest installment of Dancing. "There are rumors of Jennie Garth, there are rumors of Melanie Brown. I have not heard any guy rumors but you never know what's going to happen," Harris says. "I wouldn't mind seeing David Beckham now that he's in town, although he might be a little busy," she adds, admitting to a crush on the British soccer star.

Joining DWTS in its second season, Harris lobbied hard for the job when she heard it was available and calls it a dream position. "I love working with the people that I work with. They're incredible and they make the job that much better," she raves.

Harris, née Shapiro, grew up in a Reform Jewish home in the Minneapolis suburb of Hopkins, MN, where she founded a chapter of B'nai Brith Youth. A good student in the National Honor Society and on the dance team in high school, she spent summers performing and working at renaissance festivals her parents founded called King Richard's Faire. Experience as a correspondent for a local entertainment show and her high school's TV station helped her get into Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and paved the way for her future on-camera career, as did acting classes she took in college.

Moving to L.A. six months after graduation, Harris opted to pursue acting while waiting for hosting opportunities, and played Mary Ann in a Gilligan's Island telemovie. Her correspondent career took off when she landed gigs at Extra, Joe Millionaire, and E! These days, she prefers interviewing actors to acting herself, and names Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, and Jeremy Piven to her list of her favorite stars to talk to on the red carpet.

Unless she delivers early, Harris hopes to attend the Sept. 16 Emmy Awards, where Dancing With the Stars is nominated in eight categories. "It's going to be a challenge to find the right Emmy gown," she observes, "but this is a time to cherish in my life."

Dancing With the Stars premieres Sep. 24 at 8 PM on ABC.

-- Text by Gerri Miller / Photo by Michael Desmond.

This is part of our Fall TV Preview in the Sep/Oct 2007 issue.
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