NBC has announced that Natalie Morales will move to Los Angeles and become host of Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live. She will also serve as a “West Coast anchor” for Today, and continue in her role on Dateline.
The move means Morales will essentially swap jobs with Billy Bush, the Access Hollywood host whose move to Today is expected to be announced at the network’s upfront on May 11.
Morales has been news anchor of the show since 2011, and has co-hosted the third hour since 2008. She joined NBC News from MSNBC in 2006 as national correspondent.
Today executive in charge Noah Oppenheim sent this note to staff, obtained by TVNewser:
Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2016 3:11 PM
To: @NBC Uni News Today Core; @NBC Uni News Digital TODAY Web Editors
Subject: Natalie Morales
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.