Ready for a fresh start. Longtime E! host Jason Kennedy has announced his departure from the network after more than 15 years.
“I’ve had the time of my life at E!. Most recently, I loved being the host of In the Room,” the news personality, 39, said in a statement to Us Weekly on Monday, March 1. “But COVID made it impossible to capture interviews with celebrities in a more personal setting, so I have decided to pursue new opportunities.”
He added, “I’m leaving with a grateful and full heart thinking about my experience, and the lifelong friendships I’ve made along the way at E!. I have a slate of exciting projects that I’ve been working on and I can’t wait to share with you soon.”
Kennedy also addressed his career change via Instagram by reflecting on how challenging it was “to sum up 16 amazing years” with the cable news program. He also shared photos with many of his colleagues and pics from his interviews with celebrities including Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez and Meryl Streep.
“Thank you for all your support over the years,” he concluded the post. “Love you guys! ❤️.”
Kennedy received supportive messages from some of his E! colleagues. Carissa Culiner referred to him as a “legend” and shared how she is “grateful for this job introducing us.” As Daily Pop’s Justin Sylvester raved about “what a f—king run” his pal had at the network, E! News Correspondent Will Marfuggi referred to Kennedy’s journey as “epic.”
The Florida native joined E! as a weekend anchor and reporter in 2005. He would go on to become one of E! News’ primary faces and scored his own series, In the Room, in early 2020. The show featured Kennedy conducting intimate sit-down interviews with Hollywood’s biggest names from the comfort of their homes.
“It’s so cool because in the past when you do an interview or a junket you only get maybe three minutes or six minutes and they’re just grabbing you saying it’s time to move on, they have to go. You really don’t have those moments to dig in,” he explained to Feeling the Vibe magazine in March 2020. “Now, [I’m] getting an hour or sometimes two hours with celebrities, and it creates some really incredible moments. I go to a place that has significance to them. It’s really a play on words ‘in the room.’”
E!’s parent company NBCUniversal announced in August 2020 that it was canceling E! News after nearly 30 years on air due to financial issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Kennedy’s interview show and Pop of the Morning were axed as well.
Kennedy later teamed up with his former E! News colleague Giuliana Rancic in December 2020 to create Own the Spotlight. The virtual course is intended to help those who are interested in becoming better public speakers and wanting to reach a new level in their industry.
Back in 2018, E! News came under fire for paying Kennedy more than his former cohost Catt Sadler, who ultimately left her position at the network. A source told Us at the time that Sadler, 46, was making about $600,000 annually while the fellow broadcaster made “$1 million a year, maybe $1.2 million at most.”
The New York Post’s Page Six was the first to report the news of the entertainment journalist’s exit from E!.