‘Today’ anchor Natalie Morales departs NBC News after 22 years, expected to join CBS’ ‘The Talk’ – USA TODAY

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Natalie Morales is leaving NBC News after 22 years, and is expected to land at CBS’ daytime show “The Talk.”  

The West coast anchor of “Today” and “Dateline NBC” correspondent,  49, said in a note to colleagues that she would be leaving the network in order to “pursue a new adventure.”

“How do you begin to say thank you for 22 amazing years?” Morales wrote. “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.”

Although Morales did not disclose her plans, she is expected to become a co-host of “The Talk,” an executive familiar with situation but not authorized to speak publicly told USA TODAY. The addition of Morales to the daytime talk show would follow several recent departures, including Sharon Osbourne and Elaine Welteroth. CBS declined to comment.

In her note to her co-workers, Morales recalled starting her career at WVIT, a local NBC station in Hartford, Connecticut, before making the “petrifying leap” to MSNBC, where she was an anchor and correspondent. She wrote she eventually scored “golden tickets” with her jobs at “Today” and “Dateline.”

She joined “Today” in 2006 and became the morning show’s news anchor five years later, replacing Ann Curry, who had been named to replace Meredith Vieira as a main anchor. But after Curry’s messy exit in 2012, Morales was passed over, and Savannah Guthrie became co-anchor instead. Morales went on to anchor “Access Hollywood,” NBC’s syndicated infotainment show, and became West coast anchor for “Today.”

“Never in a million years did I imagine this when I dreamed of what I wanted to be when I grew up!” Morales wrote. “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.”

Though Morales noted it’s “very hard to say goodbye,” she added she’s “eternally grateful for the support and deep friendships” she’s had at NBC.

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“I have so much to be thankful for and for every one of you who helped me get here… muchísimas gracias mis amigos,” she concluded.

USA TODAY has reached out to Morales’ rep for further comment.

‘The Talk’ names Jerry O’Connell its first male co-host, replacing Sharon Osbourne

Contributing: Bill Keveney