CBS expands Natalie Morales’ role into news division

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Former NBC anchor and correspondent Natalie Morales has upgraded her deal with CBS to continue to co-host and moderate “The Talk” but also serving as a correspondent for the network news division.

Morales, who jumped to CBS after leaving NBC in 2021. She had been with NBCU since 2002.

She left her full-time gig at “Today” in 2016 to move to the west coast and become host on the “Access Hollywood” franchise that NBCU owns and airs on its own stations as well as syndicating it nationally.

At “Today,” she had been serving as newsreader, though her role was increased over the years, often becoming a de facto third co-anchor. She also hosted the third hour of the show, then known as “Today’s Take,” which followed a similar “host chat” format that “The Talk” kicks off with.

Her “Access” arrangement ended in 2019 when NBC hired Mario Lopez away from “Extra.”

After that, she continued to appear on “Today” and other NBC programs, including contributing to “Dateline,” though her on-air time was notably diminished.

She signed on to become a member of CBS’s afternoon talker “The Talk” in 2021, taking over as moderator. The same year, the network added Jerry O’Connell and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, the show’s first permanent male co-hosts.

At the time, it was noted that she would continue to appear on NBC as the network worked its way through stories she did for “Dateline” that hadn’t aired yet and that was reportedly a provision both CBS and NBC agreed to.

She still occasionally appears on repackaged “Dateline” editions that NBC licenses to other networks.

Her signing on to CBS News programming now that it appears her new NBC appearances are done isn’t surprising.

For CBS News, Morales will contribute to “48 Hours,” “CBS Mornings” and “CBS Sunday Morning.”

It’s not immediately clear when her first piece for the news division will air.

CBS’s announcement of her new role did not specifically mention contributing to “CBS Evening News.”

The network could be attempting to limit her appearances to the true-crime-oriented “48 Hours” and the lighter fare on “Mornings” and “Morning” since she also has to venture into the realm of commentary for her role “The Talk.”

Like many daytime talk shows and morning newscasts, “The Talk” also regularly features sponsored segments that talent participate in, which does blur the line between news and paid infotainment.

“The Talk” is produced by CBS’s entertainment division, unlike the similar show “The View,” which airs on ABC (typically earlier in the day) and is produced by ABC News.