Natalie Morales joins 'The Talk' as newest co-host

Natalie Morales will be talking The Talk.

On the heels of Friday's announcement that she's leaving NBC News after 22 years, CBS announced Monday that the 49-year-old journalist and TV anchor has joined its Daytime Emmy Award-winning talk show. She will officially debut on Oct. 11 beside co-hosts Sheryl Underwood, Akbar Gbajabiamila, Amanda Kloots and Jerry O'Connell.

Morales dropped in for a virtual visit to The Talk on Monday to celebrate the news. 

“I gotta say, it was the warmest welcome," Morales said. "You guys have embraced me with such open arms." 

She said while she's loved her tenure at NBC News, "It’s always exciting and new to start something different and I love this new adventure that we're going to be taking together... It's going to be a fun team!"

Underwood concluded the big announcement with a note to the audience, saying, "I really want to say to the world: This host configuration represents what the nation's looks like," with the addition of the "100 percent Latina" Morales. "I think we’re going to have some great conversations."

In a press release, Morales called her new gig "an extraordinary opportunity." She said she loves "the new energy and direction" and is "looking forward to many good times while talking about the days’ topics."

Executive producers Heather Gray and Kristin Matthews said in a statement, "We couldn’t be more excited to have Natalie Morales join TheTalk family. We have been fans of her and her work for years. Her varied skillset and versatility are a great addition to our talented panel. Natalie’s intelligence, passion and enthusiasm always shine through in all her work, and we are fortunate to have her on the team."

After Morales's departure from NBC News was announced, rumors quickly swirled that she was headed to The Talk. The show has been a revolving door after Sharon Osbourne's headline-making departure amid allegations of racism followed by the exit of Elaine Welteroth. Underwood has the most seniority while Kloots joined the show in January and Gbajabiamila and O'Connell are newbies for Season 12.

Morales spent more than two decades with NBC News and joined the Today show in 2006. She served as the show's news anchor as well as co-anchor of Today's third-hour. In 2016, she relocated to Los Angeles and became the show's West Coast anchor. Today expected to give her a send-off in the coming weeks.

Additionally, Morales is a correspondent for Dateline NBC and will continue to appear on that program for the rest of this year, and also anchors Behind Closed Doors with Natalie Morales. She also hosted Access Hollywood and co-hosted Access Live, and has reported on NBC Nightly NewsWith Lester Holt.