Kathie Lee Gifford's Farewell From Today Met With Major Tension As She Admits To Texting Matt Lauer
After a decade at NBC, Kathie Lee Gifford is saying goodbye to the network. This week her Today Show colleagues - Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, Dylan Dreyer, Carson Daly, and Lester Holt - gathered in The Times Square Edition in New York to say farewell to the popular host.
Kotb and Gifford - who have co-hosted the 4th hour of Today Show together for ten years - wore matching white jumpsuits as they posed for farewell pics at a party they called “A Toast to Kathie Lee.”
Gifford announced late last year that she was leaving The Today Show , just after the network canceled Megyn Kelly Today .
“It’s bittersweet as these things always are, but I have been here almost 11 years,” said Gifford during a show last December. “Thought I would stay one year. Something happened along the way and fell in love with a beautiful Egyptian goddess, and when it’s our 11th anniversary, I will be leaving the Today show.”
Gifford has been putting up a brave face since she announced her resignation . But, behind the scenes, she is furious that NBC fired her longtime friends Megyn Kelly and Matt Lauer.
An insider says that Gifford has let everyone know she was upset that Kelly was treated badly and “got the boot,” and she didn’t like the way NBC handled the firing of Lauer. Gifford reportedly said that she started to feel like there wasn’t a place for her at the peacock network, either.
Gifford allegedly believed the show had become too politically correct over the years, and she could no longer comfortably express her views. However, another source claims that NBC pushed Gifford out because they wanted a younger replacement who could be a female counterpart to Craig Melvin.
NBC chose former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager to replace Gifford, and insiders have claimed that Kotb wasn’t happy because network execs didn’t consult with her first.
However, Kotb has shed plenty of tears on-air when it comes to Gifford’s departure. The two women are very close, and Gifford said during her farewell speech that they laugh and support one another, they know each other’s kids’ names, and they know when someone is having a colonoscopy.
“We do life, and nobody more so than my Hoda,” said Gifford.
Just because Gifford was popular at NBC, it doesn’t mean her colleagues supported her decision to remain friends with Lauer.
“I was texting him last week and praying for him this morning. That’s what a friendship means to me,” Gifford told People Magazine. “I’ve been through very, very hard times in my life and I saw my friends drop away because they weren’t my friends. Times like that test the mettle of friendships. The Matt I love is the Matt I still do.”
She added that Lauer made mistakes and paid dearly for them, but she believes in second, third, and one hundred chances. Gifford says it isn’t her place to judge, and that is between him, his wife, and God. Her job, she says, is to be his friend.
“He’s found out who his real friends are,” says Gifford.
Kathie Lee Gifford is moving on from Today , and she told fans that she will be pursuing passion projects - like writing and producing Christian films - and she will not drop out of the spotlight.