Today Show journalist Natalie Morales announced plans to leave NBC News on Friday, which immediately led to speculation about her future. Sources told The Daily Mail Friday that Morales is heading to CBS' daytime talk show The Talk, which has undergone seismic changes in recent months. Sharon Osbourne was fired from the show in March, then Carrie Ann Inaba and Elaine Welteroth both announced they were leaving before Season 12 started in September. Osbourne and Inaba were replaced by Jerry O'Connell and Akbar Gbajabiamila, respectively.
"We need to save the show after the disastrous exit of Sharon Osbourne," a source close to The Talk told The Daily Mail Friday. "Natalie is a beloved star of news and her gravitas can help us turn The Talk around." Another source said Morales joining the show would give them an "opportunity to float and fix a sinking ship." CBS did not comment on the report.
Morales sent a statement to her NBC News colleagues Friday afternoon, announcing her plans to leave the network after 22 years. She will continue to appear on Dateline through the end of the current season, and her final Today Show broadcast was not announced. Today executive producer Tom Mazzarelli said Morales was "offered an opportunity she's passionate about."
"It's very hard to say goodbye... and we all know in this business it's never goodbye but see you later," Morales said Friday. "I'm eternally grateful for the support and deep friendships that will remain no matter where our paths lead. I have so much to be thankful for and for every one of you who helped me get here... muchísimas gracias mis amigos."
Morales joined the NBC News family when WVIT-TV in Harford, Connecticut hired her. In 2002, she joined MSNBC before she moved to Today in 2006. After the 2016 Summer Olympics, she moved to Los Angeles and served as Today's West Coast anchor. If she really does join The Talk, she won't have to move back to New York since the series is filmed at CBS Studio Center in Studio City, Los Angeles.
The Talk has experienced several quick changes since the March 10 episode, when Osborne defended Piers Morgan's controversial comments about Meghan Markle during a discussion with Sheryl Underwood. CBS fired Osbourne on March 26, following an internal investigation. Inaba, who took a leave of absence in April for health reasons, and Welteroth chose not to return for Season 12. O'Connell, Gbajabiamila, Underwood, and Amanda Kloots are now the four full-time hosts on the series.