Sixty-five-year-old Today Show host Kathie Lee Gifford recently announced that she will be leaving television once her contract with NBC finishes. For 11 years, she has co-hosted the lighthearted fourth hour along with Hoda Kotb and plenty of wine. The pair’s on-air chemistry created one of the most popular television duo’s of all time, leading to plenty of laughs and uplifting segments. Although Gifford has cherished her time on the show, she is looking forward to the next chapter in her life, according to Today.
Prior to her stint on the Today Show, Gifford spent over a decade co-hosting Live with Regis and Kathie Lee with Regis Philbin. Philbin said he felt disoriented and lost after following her departure, after being used to her at his side for so many years. Although he continued on with the show with Kelly Ripa, it never felt quite the same. “Kath, I’m so happy for you. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the 15 years we spent together and how much I loved you,” he told Gifford. Although change is hard, it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. “That doesn’t mean it can’t be good and better in some ways,” Gifford said of her time on the Today Show with Kotb.
Despite hating to lose her as his co-host, Philbin couldn’t deny the incredible connection that Gifford and Kotb had. It was this chemistry that made the fourth hour so successful for so many years. He visited the show frequently through the years, cracking jokes with Gifford just as he always had. She’s hoping he’ll be able to make one final visit to the show prior to her departure. Her final farewell won’t take place until the spring, leaving plenty of time for fans and celebrity guests alike to say their goodbyes.
Throughout the 11 years their hour has been on television, Gifford and Kotb have become like family to some of the celebrities who frequent the show. Singer Kelly Clarkson, in particular, became especially close to the duo. She even wrote the opening song that plays at the beginning of every one of their shows. She spoke out on Twitter after hearing of Gifford’s departure writing, “What??!!!! This is crazy!! You will be missed @KathieLGifford I don’t remember a time when you weren’t on tv.”
Television host Jason Kennedy also came to think of Gifford as family, thanking her for all the guidance she’s given him through the years. “I love this woman so much, she’s been one of my biggest encouragers in my career and quickly became a friend and mentor. Congratulations on an incredible run auntie @KathieLGifford, you change the lives of everyone around you,” he said.