The Natalie Morales rumors that she will be fired as the news anchor of the Today Show is being dismissed by an official NBC News spokesperson. Matt Lauer’s popularity is also tanking as a result, according to The Inquisitr. The rumors have been rampant this week that Morales, who first joined the program in 2006, was set to be fired from her long-time position and be moved against her will to a spot on Dateline.
“This is all hogwash,” the senior Today Show source said about of rumors. “Natalie [Morales] is beloved by the staff and millions of fans. It’s pretty obvious this vicious rumor is being spread by a competitor nervous that we have won a week in the demo and are moving toward regaining our place as the number one morning show.”
An official NBC News spokesperson also shot down the Natalie Morales rumors as rival-fueled, according to News Max. Some stories were alleging that Matt Lauer has started problems again for the Today Show, as if Natalie was another victim. However, that story about was also squashed by the spokesperson.
The Natalie Morales rumors are far from the truth. “We’ve got great momentum, we love our team and Natalie is an important part of it,” they said about Morales.
That momentum was that the NBC morning show is narrowing the ratings gap with Good Morning America during the first quarter of 2015.
In the first nine weeks of the year, new figures revealed the Today Show closed GMA’s viewer lead by 19 percent in the key news demographic of viewers aged 25-54.
For the week of April 20, the NBC morning show averaged 1.793 million viewers in the demo, while GMA recorded an audience of 1.765 million. It was Today’s biggest weekly win over GMA since February 2014.
The first sign of the Natalie Morales rumors first surfaced when an insider reported that she was being replaced by Hoda Kotb. However, Natalie is actually a favorite of Matt Lauer, so right away the story seemed bogus. Kotb already appears after Morales on the fourth hour of the NBC morning show.
“The story was ridiculous from the beginning,” an official NBC news spokesperson said. “Natalie isn’t going anywhere,” they added.
This is not the first time rumors have circulated about a shakeup at the network. Lauer himself was almost replaced by Anderson Cooper in 2013. And last fall, a report said that both Natalie Morales and Willie Geist had been fired from the network and were already seeking other jobs. But the network stomped on this speculation about Morales almost immediately.
NBC News President Deborah Turness is fighting back against the Natalie Morales rumors report, claiming no changes are in the works.
“NBC’s ‘Today’ has the best anchor team in morning television,” Turness said in a statement. “The entire ‘Today’ show anchor team — Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Carson Daly, Tamron Hall, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb — are incredibly talented, valued and have our support. In response to the false rumors that have been circulated about our anchor team, NBC wants to be absolutely clear: The rumors are wrong — period. This is the team we are committed to. And this is the team that our viewers turn to in the morning.”
The Natalie Morales rumors also alleged that she was being forced out, notes The Spreadit. However, it was just another alleged story about the NBC morning show staff. Some fans speculate that insiders start these rumors in an effort to boost ratings.