Can NBC keep Americans happy if Natalie Morales exits the Today show?
As a podcaster, author and HuffPost contributor whose mission is to inspire living happy – inside out, I was prompted by recent news about Natalie Morales to reflect upon her career.
I am no media maven, rarely watch morning TV and hardly ever check into the latest buzz about celebrity gossip. But when popular outlets like TV Guide and US magazine report that the familiar face of Natalie Morales may be leaving NBC’s Today show, I had to weigh in on the matter.
One chilly November day several years ago, I met Natalie Morales and her sunny spirit brightened my day. At the time, my husband and I were first time publishers, mid-lifers who exchanged comfortable lives as owners of a computer firm because we wanted to positively impact culture.
With lots of effort, enthusiasm and ingenuity, our initial series grew in popularity as Boston Globe Children’s Book Festival cited the work, school systems were buying and HSN featured the books to a complete sell-out of 5-star ratings.
When our author learned we were heading to New York, she asked if we might visit the Today show. Could we deliver a set of the books to Natalie Morales? Natalie was a rising national TV personality, and a preschool mom.
I seized the opportunity for more publicity and arrived at Rockefeller Center with a promotional sign in case Al Roker and his cameras passed by me standing in the crowd. (They did.)
With four hours of cold weather observations that day, I gained some warm insights into Natalie Morales. The most notable was that she demonstrated no apparent sense of entitlement and no need for special attention. To the contrary, she moved equally among co-workers and crowds. Whether engaging with the Today show’s cast and crew or the program’s gawking onlookers and fans, her demeanor remained consistent and pleasing.
Today is an easier program to view from the comfort of one’s own couch, but my field trip that day was worth the experience — and the wait. After watching Giatta and her family prepare an Italian meal and Martha Stewart hawk a new line of dog collars, I learned from a producer that Natalie would oblige my request for her time.
The two of us met after the show.
During our exchange, I found Natalie Morales as gentle and engaging in person as she appears to us on TV. Her smile was warm and natural and her crystal clear eyes conveyed intelligence mixed with good humor. She graciously accepted the books but not before remarking about the colorful images of furry spiders and the nursery rhyming texts.
“My son will love these,” she told me. “He is the perfect age for these stories. I’ll surprise him with one tonight before I put him to bed.”
As publisher, I was glad to know this delivery mission was accomplished. But what made me happier was my encounter with Natalie Morales, a national personality who conveyed kindness and grace during a private, one-on-one exchange with a stranger. She was a refined woman, worthy of her current stature. She was also a soul who saw beyond herself and could reach easily into the lives of others.
Since that meeting, I’ve tuned in to Today on several occasions and have been admittedly surprised to find Natalie Morales eclipsed by others. Why, I’ve wondered, isn’t Natalie more prominently featured? Don’t Today show producers want to gain deeper connections and establish a closer rapport with viewers? Apparently, the answers have been no.
Certainly no expert on morning TV, I would be happy to see Natalie Morales appear at a new media home. Perhaps like Katie Couric who flourished after she left a discordant position at CNN, Natalie Morales will be better appreciated in a venue that plays to her strengths.
In careers and in life, we all seek to connect with the right atmosphere, the right culture and the right climate. When we do, we brighten up naturally and feel right at home. We arrive at a place where we are as much appreciated for being who we are as we appreciate those who surround us. Good will and peaceful relations prevail. Contention, competition and strife are dispelled and like-minded people are easily attracted.
As American culture continues to evolve, I’d like to see Natalie Morales’ star rise in a new outlet of her own. As a woman of intelligence, personality and depth, she has the ability to become a sunny image reflecting America’s emerging audience of mindful viewers.
If she finds a new media home, I’d tune in and imagine others would, also.
May Natalie Morales, Today and the rest of America celebrate happy mornings everywhere.
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