Today Show anchor Natalie Morales is leaving the long-running morning show after 22 years. She will continue appearing on NBC News' Dateline through the end of the year. She will also be given a send-off on Today soon, as the date of her final broadcast was not announced. Today executive producer Tom Mazzarelli said Morales was "offered an opportunity she's passionate about."
"How do you begin to say thank you for 22 amazing years?" Morales wrote in an email to her NBC News colleagues on Friday, reports NBC News. "I think back to my early days cutting my teeth at WVIT in Hartford, CT then taking the huge and - at the time - petrifying leap to MSNBC and alas - scoring the golden tickets to the Today Show and Dateline. Never in a million years did I imagine this when I dreamed of what I wanted to be when I grew up!"
She went on to call the "first half of my life" 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." In the end, she noted how she saw her family and so many others at NBC grow during her two decades at the network, but she now believes it is time to "spread my own wings and to pursue a new adventure."
After graduating from Rutgers University, Morales first worked at News 12 in New York City before joining WVIT-TV in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2002, she joined MSNBC and was made Today co-anchor and national correspondent in 2006. In 2011, she replaced Ann Curry as Today's news anchor and she also co-anchored the third hour.
After the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, she moved to Los Angeles but continued appearing on Today. She also hosted Access from 2016 to 2019. Morales won three Daytime Emmy Awards at Today, as well as a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for her 2013 report on Honduran lobster divers. Morales also reported on Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding in 2011, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and the 2017 Las Vegas shooting for NBC News, as well as many other breaking stories. She also published the book At Home with Natalie: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living from My Family's Kitchen to Yours in 2018.