Mario Lopez has been lined up to take over NBC’s Access, which was formerly known as Access Hollywood, in an attempt to salvage the show, according to the Daily Mail. If their source is to be believed, the arrival of Lopez is likely to see some radical changes to the format of the show, too.
The report quotes an unnamed senior NBC executive saying, “We are planning on blowing up the current format of the show and making Mario the star.”
Access Hollywood has been struggling since former presenter Billy Bush left the show in 2016. It is currently hosted by Natalie Morales and Kit Hoover. Morales, in particular, is thought to be “furious” at the planned changes having moved her entire family across the country in 2016 to take over the show.
However, the NBC executive said that she was right to be worried.
“Natalie Morales and Kit Hoover should be very concerned as come the Fall, the show once known as Access Hollywood but now called Access will look nothing like it currently does.”
He continued, “The plan is to build the entire show around Mario Lopez – why do you think Extra has announced they are moving to FOX and rumors are circulating that Billy Bush is in discussions to join as the show’s host?”
“Access never found its footing after Billy left,” he explained. “After two years of trying we feel we need someone with name recognition to anchor the show going forward and we feel Mario Lopez is the right host for the show.”
Lopez is believed to have been in talks with NBC since last summer and was even flown out to New York City for the network’s annual Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting despite not having formally joined the network at that time. Natalie Morales was notably absent from that event.
But news about Lopez’s imminent arrival doesn’t appear to have gone down well in the corridors on NBC. One source told the Daily Mail, “Everyone is pi**ed that NBC is doing this, but no one is more ticked off than Natalie. I mean he is our competition and now he’s going to come in and save the day. What a joke!”
Another insider added, “Natalie is furious… She’s given her heart and soul to the show while also waking before dawn most mornings to do hits for NBC’s Today Show where she is their West Coast Anchor. She does not see Mario as her equal but as a cheeseball who is very lucky to have made it to where he is today.”