Mario Lopez is in and Natalie Morales is out, and a lot of people on the Access set aren’t happy. A few people on set were told today that Morales, who moved her family from New York to Los Angeles to take the helm at Access Hollywood, will no longer have a job at the show at the end of the summer, and Lopez will be the new host.
The Daily Mail says that headed out the door with Morales is the show’s longtime executive producer, Rob Silverstein, who has been replaced by Maureen Fitzpatrick. The new executive producer was brought in by NBC to revamp the show, but much of the staff doesn’t like the direction, calling it “boring and stale.”
Morales will remain in place as the West Coast anchor for Today, but she’s been bumped from all things Access including the live shoots at events.
But this is a big blow to the remaining team at Access, who called Morales “beloved,” and are not fond of Lopez, who they call “a giant cheese ball.”
A source at NBC says that the network wanted the switch to be a secret until they announced it this summer, but the cat is now out of the proverbial bag on the set.
Natalie Morales is fired by NBC executives to make room for 'cheese ball' Mario Lopez who will be the new face of revamped Access Hollywood – as staffers are left in the dark over major switch-up https://t.co/Xl3BGw83NO
— The_News_DIVA???? (@The_News_DIVA) March 19, 2019
Extra is moving to FOX in the fall, and that’s when Mario Lopez will make the final move to Access. The source associated with the show says that Lopez struck the deal, knowing that Morales would be pushed out.
‘Mario has done a secret deal to be the new face of the show and this has pushed beloved Natalie out. Everyone is p***ed as he is a giant cheese ball who is allergic to hard work. He’s not the face of the show we want.”
Lopez has reportedly been in talks with NBC and Access since last summer, so this isn’t a complete surprise to Morales who reportedly sensed it was coming, but just didn’t know when. The network believes that the show’s ratings hadn’t recovered since Billy Bush was fired. The source suggests that the optics are bad, moving women out of the way for a man who has his own tarnished reputation.
US Magazine reported that in a memoir, Lopez boasted that he cheated on his first wife, Ali Landry, just before their wedding, causing her to annul the marriage two weeks later. He told Howard Stern on his radio show that he had told Landry he was going marlin fishing, but “messed around” with another woman in Cabo. He said Landry found out when her sister saw pictures of Lopez partying in Mexico and confronted him.
“I dealt with all this drama, and then at that point just realize…I finally got the balls to say ‘Hey, listen I’m not ready for this, I’m sorry.'”