Tags: natalie morales | today show | access hollywood

Natalie Morales to Be 'Today' Show West Coast Anchor, 'Access' Host

Image: Natalie Morales to Be 'Today' Show West Coast Anchor, 'Access' Host
Natalie Morales speaks during the Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village on February 27, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for SOBEWFF®)

By    |   Thursday, 05 May 2016 10:53 AM

Natalie Morales is heading to California to become the "Today" show's West Coast anchor, as well as a host for "Access Hollywood" and "Access Hollywood Live."

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Morales has been part of the "Today" show since 2006, and involved in its 9 a.m. hour since 2011. She will make the move to Los Angeles over the summer and will continue to be a part of "Dateline" as well.

Noah Oppenheim, the senior vice president of "Today," made the announcement in a memo, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Morales has been spending an increasing amount of time in Los Angeles — about a week each month — covering entertainment industry stories for 'Today,'" wrote The Hollywood Reporter. "And 'Access Hollywood,' the nationally syndicated entertainment program produced by NBCUniversal, is losing co-host Billy Bush, who is expected to join 'Today' this summer."

The good news comes after Morales and "Today" came under scrutiny in November 2014 when Us Weekly reported that she and Willie Geist had been fired from the show, a point that was soon refuted by show sources, according to the New York Daily News.

"Willie and Natalie were never told they were fired," an NBC source told the New York Daily News at the time. "These plans were a part of a memo, a proposal — a potential future for the show that never came about," the source said.

Oppenheim said in Wednesday's memo that he wanted to have a regular West Coast anchor because of the show's increasing coverage there. He said that "having a permanent anchor presence in L.A. would be of enormous value."

The New York Post reported that Morales's contract was up in October and that she had already been in discussions about a hosting gig with "Access Hollywood," which is owned by NBCUniversal's syndicated unit.

The Post reported that Bush is expected to be a co-host in the third hour of "Today" at 9 a.m. ahead of the summer Olympics.

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Natalie Morales is heading to California to become the "Today" show's West Coast anchor, as well as a host for "Access Hollywood" and "Access Hollywood Live."
natalie morales, today show, access hollywood
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2016-53-05
Thursday, 05 May 2016 10:53 AM
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