"Laila has a unique skill sets that I've come across in broadcast news," says Ross. "She has been a dedicated educator and author in areas of heath and fitness. She has a spiritual side, while being a fearless competitor. She's a great addition to the The Early Show team."
Ali told co-anchor Harry Smith Thursday she will be doing "stories that are feel-good stories that inspire people to be their personal best. You know -- make you feel good, wanna get up and go in the morning, havea positive day. I think we need a little of that in the morning. A lot of that!"
Ali, 30, is best known to audiences as a daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali and as third-place finalist in season four of ABC's "Dancing With The Stars."
Ali said her famous dad "is wonderful. He's doing very well. You know, he has a disease, so he has his good days, his bad days. But his spirits are very high, and he doesn't let it slow him down, so I'm so proud of him."
Asked what people say to her about him when they meet her, Ali smiled and replied, "People love my dad. It's almost like just mentioning his name brings people to tears. You know? And he just has this hold on people, this energy about him that people just love." He'll turn 66 a week from today (Thursday).
She has written a motivational book for young women titled "Reach!" (Hyperion, 2003) and has appeared in cooking segments on the Food Network's "Emeril" and "Rachael Ray," with recipes geared towards a healthy, active lifestyle.
With Hulk Hogan, she serves as co-host of "American Gladiators," which premiered on NBC this month and she is to host the upcoming Nickelodeon broadcast, "The N's Student Body," which follows a group of teens as they attempt to change their lives through diet, exercise, volunteer work and academics.
Ali made her professional boxing debut in 1999. She is the current undefeated Super Middleweight Boxing Champion of the world with a 24-0 record and 21 knockouts.
Ali was born in Miami, Fla. She was graduated from Santa Monica College with a degree in business management. Ali and her husband, former NFL star Curtis Conway, live in Los Angeles.