'Today's Natalie Morales to Become Host of 'Access Hollywood,' 'Access Hollywood Live'

Updated: Wednesday, May 4, 6:30 p.m. ET

Today's Natalie Morales will be the new host of NBCUniversal's Access Hollywood and the show's live daytime spinoff, Access Hollywood Live, along with current co-host Kit Hoover, NBC confirmed Wednesday.

She will also continue as a West Coast anchor contributing stories to Today and Dateline.

The move essentially swaps Morales for longtime Access Hollywood host Billy Bush, who is moving to New York to join Today this fall. Morales is Today's news anchor from 7 to 9 a.m. and a co-host of Today’s 9 a.m. hour, where Bush is expected to play a lead role. Morales is moving to Los Angeles for her new position.

Related: 'Access Hollywood''s Billy Bush Moving to 'Today'

The New York Post first reported that Morales was in talks to make the move.

Today senior VP and executive in charge Noah Oppenheim confirmed that Morales would be heading West in a memo to NBC News staff late Wednesday:

I'm writing with exciting news - this summer, Natalie Morales will move to LA to become Today's West Coast Anchor and a host of Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live. She'll also continue to play a prominent role on Dateline.

As you all know, Natalie has already been spending a lot of time in California, reporting live from special events like the Oscars, Golden Globes and Latin American Music Awards, conducting celebrity interviews and set visits, and spearheading two big series spotlighting women who are leaders in Silicon Valley and Hollywood.  With our show's increasing focus on West Coast stories, it became clear to me that having a permanent anchor presence in LA would be of enormous value.

Additionally, when NBCU Domestic TV Distribution heard that a talent of Natalie's caliber and entertainment experience might soon be LA-based, they immediately jumped at the opportunity to have her host Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live.

It's an exciting time for all of us at Today - we recently marked eight consecutive months as the #1 morning show in the key demo, and the ratings momentum continues to build on our side.  From this summer's Republican and Democratic Conventions, to the Rio Olympics, to the historic election this fall, the coming months will be an extraordinary time for the country and the show.

Please join me in congratulating Natalie on her family's big move and her exciting new roles. We're so thrilled that she'll continue to be part of the Today family for years to come.

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.