Natalie Morales is moving to Los Angeles to become Today’s West Coast anchor, and to host NBCUniversal’s Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live.
The move comes days after that other chronic Today show report, that Billy Bush was leaving Access Hollywood to join the morning infotainment franchise, flared up again like a bad rash. The Bush move is expected to be jammed somewhere into NBCU’s cross-network presentation on the first day of Upfront Week on May 16; the long, long-anticipated move of the Access Hollywood star is expected to target the 9 AM timeslot where Today competes against Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael in many parts of the country.
Here’s today’s memo from Today’s SVP Noah Oppenheim:
I’m writing with exciting news – this summer, Natalie Morales will move to LA to become TODAY’s West Coast Anchor and a host of Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live. She’ll also continue to play a prominent role on Dateline.
As you all know, Natalie has already been spending a lot of time in California, reporting live from special events like the Oscars, Golden Globes and Latin American Music Awards, conducting celebrity interviews and set visits, and spearheading two big series spotlighting women who are leaders in Silicon Valley and Hollywood. With our show’s increasing focus on West Coast stories, it became clear to me that having a permanent anchor presence in LA would be of enormous value.
Additionally, when NBCU Domestic TV Distribution heard that a talent of Natalie’s caliber and entertainment experience might soon be LA-based, they immediately jumped at the opportunity to have her host Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live.
It’s an exciting time for all of us at TODAY – we recently marked 8 consecutive months as the #1 morning show in the key demo, and the ratings momentum continues to build on our side. From this summer’s Republican and Democratic Conventions, to the Rio Olympics, to the historic election this fall, the coming months will be an extraordinary time for the country and the show.
Please join me in congratulating Natalie on her family’s big move and her exciting new roles. We’re so thrilled that she’ll continue to be part of the TODAY family for years to come.