"Ashby is so tough," says O’Dell, who also has stepsons Tyler, 15, and Carson, 10, with husband Keith Zubchevich. "She can always defend herself at school because she has to do it at home. She’s not a fragile flower!"

By peoplestaff225
Updated December 05, 2010 02:00 PM
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At age 3, Nancy O’Dell‘s daughter Ashby Grace is already learning to hold her own with her two big brothers.

“Ashby is so tough,” says O’Dell, who also has stepsons Tyler, 15, and Carson, 10, with husband Keith Zubchevich.

“She can always defend herself at school because she has to do it at home. She’s not a fragile flower!”

She’s also managed to change her night owl mom into an early bird.

“I used to so not be a morning person,” says O’Dell, who is promoting the Morning Squeeze video contest sponsored by Florida Orange Juice. But since becoming a mom, the newly-named Entertainment Tonight host regularly rises at 5 a.m. to get her emails and organizing out of the way before the kids are up.

“Also, when you have a toddler and she’s ready to go to bed at 8 or 8:30 at night it’s like, ‘Time for me to go to bed too!'”

Mornings are about to get even busier for O’Dell, who will begin appearing on Entertainment Tonight along with outgoing host Mary Hart in January.

“When ET first started, I watched it and thought, ‘That would be the coolest job,'” says the former Access Hollywood host. “And here it is. To take over for a TV legend is such an honor. Mary is such a classy lady.”

Also in January, O’Dell will begin hosting Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star, a reality competition on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. She is also the author of a new book, Full of Love, which offers guidance on scrap booking in conjunction with Creative Memories.

“I’m a fourth-generation scrap booker,” she says. “I have a love letter my great-grandfather wrote my great-grandmother when they were dating! It’s so neat.”

Today she carries on the tradition through the Album of Hope Initiative to help parents create their own scrapbooks for their kids.

“The moment you take your child’s picture and put it in a scrapbook, you’ve just told them they matter,” O’Dell, 44, explains. “I saw that so much the other day with my daughter. She was looking at an album I had made of her when she was a baby and saw this picture of me with her. She said, ‘Mommy, you love me so much.’ I said, ‘You’re just the most wonderful little thing.’ And she said, ‘Yep, I’m awesome!'”

Next up for O’Dell: Hosting FOX’s New Year’s Eve special.

“I’m like, ‘2011 must be my year!'” she says with a laugh. “I feel like the female Ryan Seacrest!”

— Michelle Tauber