THE Today Show’s Natalie Morales QUITS the morning program to join The Talk as a new co-host after Sharon Osbourne’s dramatic exit.
Following a 22-year career as the West Coast host of the NBC series and also as a Dateline correspondent, she announced on Friday she will be leaving her longtime network.
Natalie, 49, broke the news to her colleagues by admitting to exploring new opportunities as she steps down from The Today Show.
On Friday, Natalie confirmed her departure in a statement sent to her coworkers: “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 struggle to find the right words and there are way too many people I need to thank for a wonderful career at NBC News.”
She is expected to wrap up her gig at Dateline in the coming weeks.
However, she will continue to appear on Dateline’s 30th season throughout the rest of year with pre-taped appearances.
The Daily Mail claimed that Natalie cleared up her schedule since she is heading to The Talk to “save the show.”
“We need to save the show after the disastrous exit of Sharon Osbourne,” a source told the outlet of their newest cast member.
“Natalie is a beloved star of news and her gravitas can help us turn The Talk around.
“With Natalie joining Jerry, we believe we have the opportunity to float and fix a sinking ship.”
The Talk has been in turmoil since earlier this year when Sharon got into a heated on-air fight with Sheryl Underwood.
Sharon, 68, was accused of defending Piers Morgan for his comments about Meghan Markle and received backlash for her “racially insensitive” remarks.
In March, CBS revealed in a statement that longtime host Sharon would be leaving the program due to the drama that had unfolded.
Actor Jerry O’Connell replaced Sharon following her shocking exit, as he joined the panel alongside Sheryl, Amanda Kloots, and Elaine Welteroth.
“It’s really exciting. You ladies have been so welcoming to me…” Jerry, 47, said at the time.
The Sun exclusively reported from two sources that Jerry scored $2million for the gig.
While it remains unclear what Natalie’s salary will be at The Talk, she reportedly earned $6 million per year for her various gigs at NBC.
American Ninja Warrior host and former NFL star Akbar Gbajabiamila will also be joining The Talk table next season.
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