A seasoned entertainment news journalist and two-time Emmy-nominated TV personality, Samantha Harris may best be known for her eight seasons co-hosting the live ABC hit Dancing With The Stars, which averaged more than 30 million viewers weekly and was the #2 most-watched show in the U.S. in each of those years.
Samantha was recently host of NBC’s ground-breaking reality competition show Stars Earn Stripes, from Executive Producers Mark Burnett (Survivor), Dick Wolf (Law & Order), and David Hurwitz (Fear Factor). Filmed unlike any television show to ever hit the small screen, this fierce, entertaining and emotionally charged competition honored America’s armed forces, as eight celebrities (teamed with eight elite military operatives) were challenged to execute complicated missions inspired by real military exercises. Her co-host was 4-Star General Wesley Clark (Retired).
Following her success on DWTS, Samantha could be seen on the world’s #1 entertainment news program, Entertainment Tonight, as a full-time correspondent, weekend co-host and substitute co-anchor for the weeknight editions. She has traveled the globe interviewing some of the industry’s biggest stars, including Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in both Salzburg, Austria, and Seville, Spain; Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Michael Douglas at The Cannes Film Festival; Jake Gyllenhaal in London; Kate Hudson on her NYC film set; Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman and Adam Sandler in Maui on the set of their film; and Sting in Manhattan Beach, CA, while he rehearsed for his world tour. In an exclusive interview, Harris also sat down with Princess Diana’s brother Charles, Earl Spencer, in London as he remembered his sister’s wedding day. Additionally, Harris gained an exclusive interview with Lindsay Lohan just prior to Lohan serving her prison sentence.
Harris’ other notable interviews include the cast of “Glee,” Oprah Winfrey, Shia LeBoeuf, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, George Clooney, Anne Hathaway, Patrick Dempsey, Jim Carrey, John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake and hundreds more. Samantha also had the privilege of covering President Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.
Simultaneously during her time on DWTS (where 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), Samantha pulled double hosting duty as she passionately shared her opinion nightly as a panelist and correspondent on the entertainment news program The Insider (CBS Television Distribution) and, prior to that, as a correspondent on E! News where she also co-hosted E! Network’s live award-show coverage for the Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmys.
Perhaps her biggest and most rewarding challenge, 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.
The physical demands of performing eight dance-filled shows a week on stage were a welcome challenge to this fitness enthusiast. Her passion for exercise coupled with a healthy lifestyle and eating habits has been the subject of numerous magazine and online articles in addition to nine fitness magazine covers.
Back on the television front, one of her greatest honors was hosting, alongside Regis Philbin, the live official red carpet pre-show for ABC’s 80th Annual Academy Awards: Road To the Red Carpet, 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 and hosting a multitude of E! specials, Samantha proved her keen abilities for serious, hard-hitting news while 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.
Prior to joining E!, Samantha served as the weekend co-host and full-time correspondent for the nationally syndicated entertainment newsmagazine Extra (Telepictures/WB Distribution) which she joined in 2003. As a correspondent who sought out unique stories, Samantha braved an aerial performance (without a harness!) with Cirque du Soleil, sang a duet with Wayne Newton during his live show in Las Vegas, and danced her way into the arms of the late beloved Patrick Swayze backstage, while he was starring in the national tour of Chicago.
Samantha’s other hosting credits include FOX’s primetime show The Next Joe Millionaire, filling in for Meredith Vieira as a guest host on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire; as a guest host on ABC’s The View; contributing as a special correspondent on ABC’s Good Morning America; and as host of AMC Access (from the producers of Access Hollywood).
As an honors graduate from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, IL, 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 (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. Samantha’s first L.A. acting job was a 150-performance run in the multi-award winning Reefer Madness!: The New “Hit” Musical (original cast).
Samantha has been featured on the covers of eleven fitness & health magazines. In addition to gracing the cover of Muscle & Fitness HERS magazine a record four times, she has been the cover girl for Women’s Running, SHAPE Middle East, FIRST, Pilates Style, Fit Parent, Wellness among others. She has also been featured on the inside pages of many magazines including SHAPE, People, US, InTouch, Health, USA Today magazine and Self.
Incredibly passionate about health and fitness, Samantha is also a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) who can often be seen on news and lifestyle programs speaking about staying fit, discovering your best body, fitting in your workouts, how to make healthy eating a habit and also about teaching your children early on about the benefits of exercise and nutritious meal choices.
Samantha is actively involved with various charities. Two of them, which she is most passionate about, include March of Dimes (www.marchofdimes.com) and Feeding America (www.feedingamerica.org) — where she is a member of the Entertainment Council.
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.
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 (www.kingrichardsfaire.net) – She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, with her husband, Michael, and their young two daughters.