Morning television has its latest hosting shake-up, as NBC’s Today news anchor Natalie Morales is headed West.
On Thursday, Today told staffers that Morales will move to Los Angeles to host the network’s entertainment news programs Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live while maintaining a role with Today as the morning show’s West Coast anchor, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Today SVP Noah Oppenheim wrote in a memo that Morales will also “continue to play a prominent role on Dateline.”
The announcement comes after recent reports—which followed months of speculation—that Access Hollywood host Billy Bush could be leaving that program to join Today‘s morning team. THR notes that the Bush move has been expected to be made formal during the media upfront presentations for Comcast’s (CMCSA) NBCUniversal later this month.
The talent shuffling at Today also comes amid some shake-up drama for rival network ABC’s (DIS) morning programs, as Live with Kelly and Michael co-host Michael Strahan announced that he will depart that show for the network’s Good Morning America. The announcement spurred co-host Kelly Ripa to skip multiple show tapings at the end of April and the network is currently searching for a replacement for Strahan.
ABC and NBC compete for morning TV viewers, with Good Morning America regularly ranking as the most-watched morning news program overall while Today typically wins out among the key younger demographic.