Natalie Morales is leaving NBC.
The television journalist announced her departure Friday in an internal memo to NBC News colleagues, explaining that she was excited to embark on “a new adventure” but did not reveal any details about what lay ahead.
Morales will continue to appear as a “Dateline” correspondent for the rest of 2021 and will be greeted with a farewell tribute on TODAY in the coming weeks.
“I’m having a hard time finding the right words and there are way too many people to thank for a great career at NBC News,” Morales, 49, told colleagues in her memo. “I think back to my early days cutting my teeth at (NBC affiliate) WVIT in Hartford, CT and then the huge and – at the time – terrible jump to MSNBC and unfortunately – scoring the gold tickets to the TODAY show and ‘Dateline’.””
“This first half of my life has been full of adventure, challenges, travel, far too many early wake-up calls, and yes, opportunities to witness history unfold and tell inspiring and impactful stories that are always will remain in my mind.” she continued.
Speaking of that role, I’ve watched my family grow up with so many of your own children, and as my oldest son prepares to spread his wings and go to college soon, I also feel the time is right ( before the second half of my life) to spread my wings and embark on a new adventure,” she added.
She concluded her message: “It’s very hard to say goodbye… and we all know that in this industry it’s never goodbye, but see you soon. I am eternally grateful for the support and deep friendships that will last no matter where our paths lead to. I have so much to be thankful for and for all of you who helped me get here… muchísimas gracias mis amigos.”
Morales joined TODAY in 2006 as a national correspondent and went on to report on all NBCUniversal News platforms, including “NBC Nightly News”, “Dateline” and MSNBC.
During her year and a half on TODAY, Morales served as the news anchor and co-host of TODAY’s Third Hour before being named the show’s west coast anchor in 2016.
In 2020, while still anchored TODAY, Morales became an official correspondent for “Dateline.”
She previously hosted NBCU’s “Access” and co-hosted “Access Live.”
During her time at NBC, Morales contributed to many significant news stories, including the sexual harassment scandals, the 2017 Las Vegas massacre, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, as well as coverage of the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. in 2011 and the birth of the couple’s first child, Prince George, in 2013.
In October 2010, Morales, who speaks spanish and portuguese, translated live and reported on the rescue of the Chilean miner. Thanks in part to her efforts, NBC’s coverage of the rescue was awarded a 2010 National Headliner Award.
Morales earned three Daytime Emmy Awards as part of the TODAY team. She also won a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for her coverage of Honduran lobster divers for “Rock Center with Brian Williams” in 2013, and three Gracie Awards for her outstanding coverage.
In 2018, Morales, who shares two sons, Josh and Luke, with husband Joe Rhodes, published her first book, “Home with Natalie: Simple Healthy Living Recipes From My Family’s Kitchen to Yours.”
On Friday, TODAY executive producer Tom Mazzarelli sent a note to NBC News staff praising Morales for her career at NBC over the past two decades.
“She has been given an opportunity that she is passionate about and has decided to step down from NBC News after an incredible two decades of career here,” he wrote, adding: “So please join me in wishing her nothing. then the best of her family here on TODAY.”