Natalie Morales Makes It Official, Saying So Long To ‘Access’

Natalie Morales
Eric Ray Davidson/NBC

Natalie Morales followed through on her expected exit from NBCUniversal’s Access, in a memo to staff sent on a quiet holiday Friday.

Morales is expected to keep up her relationship with NBC News, as a Today correspondent out of Los Angeles, and Dateline contributor.

On the nationally syndicated daytime celeb-news program, Morales is expected to be replaced by Mario Lopez, of Extra fame.

(In January, Deadline reported Billy Bush may be en route to his TV comeback by joining Extra, as it prepares to make a major move from NBC to Fox stations in many markets in fall of 2019. In the rough-and-tumble world of celebrity-news shows, the hire would mark a rebound for Bush who, two years earlier, became the one to get the hook from the third hour of NBC News’ Today in the wake of WaPo’s release of an old hot-mic conversation between then Access Hollywood co-host Bush and reality-TV star Donald Trump. Trump, meanwhile, went on to become President of the United States.)

Morales’ Access exit closely follows that of the show’s longtime executive producer Rob Silverstein, who was replaced by another industry veteran, Maureen FitzPatrick. Silverstein had been with the nationally syndicated program since 1996.

Morales recently participated in NBC News’ all-hands-on-deck Today feting of exiting co-anchor Kathie Lee Gifford, at which a brief nod was given to Morales’ 20th anniversary with the division.

Her memo, first published by Variety:

To my dear Access family:

And I do mean family! I have had a wonderful 3 years here with you and will treasure the memories and good times! Thank you for welcoming me with open arms and for always bringing your A-game. I have so much to be grateful for and can’t name all of you… but I do have to especially thank Kit, Scott, Sibley and Liliana for making it always a fun day “at work.” And thanks to our incredible producers, crew, assistants, wardrobe, hair and makeup teams.. I mean truly, I have a long list and hope to thank you each personally. Keep being the little engine that could!

As an “Air Force” brat who has had to say goodbye one too many times in my life.. I prefer to say see you all later … and by later I mean on the next red carpet or on the lot! I’m just a few studio gates away after all. Please stay in touch.

All my best

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