Mario Lopez Joins 'Access Hollywood' as Co-Host

The longtime 'Extra' host moves over to the rival entertainment newsmagazine, where he will fill the spot formerly occupied by Natalie Morales.
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Mario Lopez

Mario Lopez has joined Access Hollywood as co-anchor alongside Kit Hoover and Scott Evans, moving from rival entertainment newsmagazine Extra.

Lopez will join the NBCUniversal-owned syndicated show and its daytime counterpart, Access Daily (formerly Access Live), starting Sept. 9. He fills the spot formerly occupied by Natalie Morales, who departed the show in April.

In addition to joining the Access shows, Lopez has also signed an overall deal to develop scripted and unscripted shows with Universal Television and Universal Television Alternative Studio.

"Mario is a multi-talented television personality. Drawing from his experience as an entertainment TV and radio host, actor, author, and, of course, a father and husband, Mario brings a fresh voice and perspective with creative ideas to our business," Tracie Wilson, executive vp creative affairs for NBCUniversal Television Distribution, said Wednesday in a statement. "Our viewers know him and love him, and we are so excited to have him as a part of the NBCUniversal family."

Speculation that Lopez would join Access Hollywood has swirled for several months. His signing is one of several big changes the 25-year-old strip has undergone in recent months, including the departure of Morales (who remains with NBC as Today's West Coast anchor and a Dateline correspondent) and the hiring of senior executive producer Maureen FitzPatrick to replace longtime executive producer Rob Silverstein.

"We are thrilled to have someone of Mario's caliber join our Access team,” said FitzPatrick. "Mario has grown up in the business and is able to offer our viewers a unique insight on the latest Hollywood headlines. Additionally, as a husband and father of three young children, he has a respect for the daytime audience who are looking for a break in their hectic lives with uplifting stories of everyday people transforming their lives and making a difference in their communities."

Added Lopez, "I have long admired the team at NBCUniversal and all the shows being produced. I'm thrilled to have an opportunity to join in that success and develop scripted and alternative projects on their many creative platforms."