Kathie Lee Gifford shocked fans earlier this week when she tearfully announced that she was leaving the Today Show after eleven years of hosting the NBC morning show’s fourth hour. But, there was one person who knew for a long time that Gifford was on her way out – her co-host Hoda Kotb.
“Hoda’s known it for a long, long time,” Gifford confessed on Wednesday’s episode of Today. “All these other projects have been bubbling up…and it’s so exciting. Movies and music and so many wonderful things. And I need the time for them to do them properly.”
— E! News (@enews) December 12, 2018
The 65-year-old also revealed that she had actually planned to leave last year, but because of “turmoil” at the show, she decided to wait. She said that she went to her NBC bosses nearly two years ago and told them that she would do one more year and retire with a nice round number – ten years. And, that was the arrangement until the network abruptly fired Matt Lauer in November 2017 for allegations of sexual misconduct.
Gifford says she felt “relieved” after telling her audience the news.
As for her friendship with Kotb, Gifford says that even though they won’t be drinking wine and gossiping on the air every morning, she has no doubt that they will remain close.
“We do life and nobody more than my Hoda. It’s going to be the same as my Regis. I’m closer to him now more than after 15 years together,” Gifford told Kotb. “You don’t share that life together and not be changed forever by it. I love you, Hoda mama. First, you were just Hoda, remember?”
As Fox News reports, this past year has been full of shake-ups at NBC news. Following Lauer’s termination, Kotb landed hosting duties alongside Savannah Guthrie for the early hours of Today, and they also added Craig Melvin to the mix.
And, just two months ago, the network canceled Megyn Kelly’s troubled 9 a.m. hour of Today and ended their three-year multi-million dollar mega deal with her just one year into the agreement. It reportedly cost the peacock network $30 million to part ways with Kelly.
— Jairo Rodriguez (@RealtorJairo) December 11, 2018
It is not yet clear who will replace Kelly in Today’s third hour, and we also don’t know yet who will replace Gifford.
Despite all of the chaos, the long-running NBC morning show has managed to finish number one in the ratings for seven consecutive weeks. And, they are starting to threaten ABC’s Good Morning America as the number one morning news show for the broadcast season.
Kathie Lee Gifford’s last show will air on April 7, 2019.