Surprising news coming out of NBC Friday afternoon: Natalie Morales announced today that she is leaving NBC News for “an exciting new opportunity.” Morales told NBC News staffers this afternoon, but did not share what exactly the opportunity is.
Morales will continue to appear on Dateline through the rest of the year (the show’s 30th season), and will officially say farewell on air on Today in the coming weeks.
One of the network’s most versatile and longest-tenured faces, Morales spent 22 years at NBC, starting out at WVIT, the network’s Hartford affiliate, before joining MSNBC in 2002 as a correspondent. She moved to the national network and Today four years later as a national correspondent, and was named co-anchor of Today’s third hour in March 2008. In May 2011, it was announced that Morales would replace Ann Curry as news anchor for Today when Curry succeeded Meredith Vieira as co-host of Today in June 2011.
In May 2016, Morales moved to Los Angeles to host Access Hollywood, swapping roles with Billy Bush, and she was also named Today’s West Coast anchor. In 2019, Morales left Access Hollywood and has maintained her spot on Today. She was named Dateline correspondent last October.
TVNewser obtained a note Today ep Tom Mazzarelli sent to staff. His note included a goodbye note from Morales herself.
Team TODAY –
Just wanted to share this note from our friend and colleague Natalie Morales. She’s been offered an opportunity she’s passionate about and has decided to step away from NBC News after an incredible two-decade career here.
But it’s not goodbye just yet – as she finishes up her work at Dateline we’ll absolutely make sure to give her a proper on-air farewell in the coming weeks.
So please join me in wishing her nothing but the best from her family here at TODAY.
How do you begin to say thank you for 22 amazing years? I struggle to find the right words and there are way too many people I need to thank for a wonderful career at NBC News. I think back to my early days cutting my teeth at WVIT in Hartford, CT then taking the huge and – at the time- petrifying leap to MSNBC and alas— scoring the golden tickets to the Today Show and Dateline. Never in a million years did I imagine this when I dreamed of what I wanted to be when I grew up!
This first half of my life has been one full of adventure, challenges, travel, way too many early wake up calls, and yes opportunities to witness history unfold and to tell inspiring and impactful stories that will always be in my mind’s highlight reel. Speaking of that reel: I watched my family grow up along with so many of your own children, and as my oldest son gets ready to spread his wings and head to college soon, so too do I feel the time is right, (before the second half of my life) to spread my own wings and to pursue a new adventure.
To my Dateline and Today show families, it’s very hard to say goodbye… and we all know in this business it’s never goodbye but see you later. I’m eternally grateful for the support and deep friendships that will remain no matter where our paths lead. I have so much to be thankful for and for every one of you who helped me get here… muchísimas gracias mis amigos.