After months of speculation, longtime Extra host Mario Lopez is officially jumping to rival entertainment newsmagazine Access Hollywood.
Lopez was named Access co-host this week alongside Kit Hoover and Scott Evans. The actor and host will join the NBCUniversal-owned syndicated series and its daytime companion, Access Daily (formerly Access Live), on Sept. 9.
In addition to joining the two shows, Lopez inked a deal to develop scripted and unscripted shows with Universal Television and Universal Television Alternative Studio.
“I have long admired the team at NBCUniversal and all the shows being produced,” Lopez said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to join in that success and develop scripted and alternative projects on their many creative platforms.”
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Lopez has hosted Warner Bros. TV Distribution’s Extra since 2008. He also hosts the iHeartMedia radio shows On with Mario Lopez and iHeartRadio Countdown with Mario Lopez.
Maureen FitzPatrick, senior executive producer of Access Hollywood and Access Daily, said her team is “thrilled to have someone of Mario’s caliber” join the Access family.
“Mario has grown up in the business and is able to offer our viewers a unique insight on the latest Hollywood headlines,” FitzPatrick said. “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.”
Lopez replaces Natalie Morales, who exited Access Hollywood in April. While Morales is no longer with the program, she remains part of the NBC family as West Coast anchor for the Today show and she’s a correspondent on Dateline.
As for Extra, former Access Hollywood and Today co-host Billy Bush will begin hosting the show in the fall.