NBC recently named Hoda Kotb as Matt Lauer’s permanent replacement as co-host of the Today Show, and her partner during the fourth hour, Kathie Lee Gifford, isn’t wasting any time looking for other projects. Does Kotb’s promotion mean Gifford will be leaving the show for good?
According to Closer Weekly, Gifford told the network last January that she would be leaving at the end of 2017 to work on films. At the time, she said she had spent the holidays writing a new movie, and at the beginning of the month, she revealed to Kotb that she wouldn’t be around much.
“You get to a point in your life where you run out of time to do what you want to do,” Gifford explained.
A source claims the 64-year-old wanted to focus on making Christian-based films, but since NBC decided to accommodate her new schedule, Gifford changed her mind and decided to stay on Today when the year came to a close.
But then the announcement came that Kotb would be taking over for Lauer after the network unexpectedly fired him over allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, and now Gifford fears that Kotb will eventually leave the last hour of the show to focus on her job in the first two hours.
Gifford is happy that her friend got her dream job, but as Radar Online reports, she is worried about who will replace Kotb once she decides to leave the fourth hour.
An insider claims that Gifford wants to choose Kotb’s replacement, with Regis Philbin and Craig Ferguson being two of the names thrown around. But the network doesn’t think either of those is the right choice.
“Kathie Lee is a great talent but shouldn’t be allowed to pick her co-host,” warned the insider. “She will pick a pal or someone she likes rather than the right talent.”
However, there could be another solution. Rumors are swirling that NBC is considering changing things up after next month’s Winter Olympics.
Kotb and Savannah Guthrie will be heading to South Korea for the event, and they will be hosting the first three hours of Today. This means Megyn Kelly – who usually hosts the third hour – could be sidelined during those two weeks, or she could join Gifford in the fourth hour.
It’s unclear how the network will handle the Today lineup during the Olympics, but after it’s over, they could be flip-flopping Kelly’s third hour and Gifford and Kotb’s fourth hour.
This way, Kotb and Guthrie would take care of the first two hours, then there would be a smooth transition to the third hour with Kathie Lee Gifford and Kotb. Then, Kelly could wrap up the show in hour number four.
Fans will just have to stay tuned to find out what happens.