After months of rumors, it is being reported that Natalie Morales has been whacked as the host of NBC’s flagship entertainment show, Access Hollywood, and will be replaced by Mario Lopez.
Morales will be following veteran executive producer Rob Silverstein out the door. Silverstein announced his departure, with immediate effect, on Tuesday.
Dailymail.com, citing sources at the show and the network, says that although Morales will stay on as as Today’s West Coast Anchor for NBC, she is furious at being let go from Access, having relocated her family to the west coast to take on the job after Billy Bush moved to the Today show (he was shortly thereafter fired in the wake of the Trump, “Grab them by the pussy,” tapes).
Morales’ departure was seen by some insiders as inevitable after the announcement on Tuesday that Silverstein, who has worked on the Access brand for some 20 years, was leaving. In a memo to his colleagues announcing his departure quoted by Variety, Silverstein said that his “vision of the show moving forward differs from the management team.”
Access Hollywood still attracts a respectable two million viewers but the show is fighting to stay relevant in the era of mobile internet, and the change in personnel is a clear attempt by NBC to breathe new life into their flagship showbiz property.
DailyMail.com quoted an NBC source as saying, “We are planning on blowing up the current format of the show and making Mario the star.”
However, staffers at the show did not appear ready to welcome the new arrival with open arms.
One source told Dailymail.com, “Everyone is pissed as he is a giant cheese ball who is allergic to hard work. He’s not the face of the show we want…We’ve watched Mario kissing the asses of certain NBC execs for the past year to convince them to make him a huge deal at NBC. It’s clearly paid off. But boy, he must have really chapped lips.”
Rumors have been circulating since Christmas that Lopez was being lined up for the role after NBC executives flew him to New York to host the annual Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting.