In mid-April, Kathie Lee Gifford will be leaving Today after 11 years with the program. The television personality made the sad announcement live on the morning show on December 11. Now, everyone is wondering how her fellow colleagues at NBC will be saying their goodbyes to her.
“You’ve heard of the Queen’s Jubilee? Multiply that by about 10 and that’s going to be Kathie Lee’s send-off,” her co-host and dear friend Hoda Kotb told Entertainment Tonight while at the Hudson River Park Friends Playground Committee’s Fourth Annual Luncheon in New York City on Friday, January 25.
“We are planning an epic send-off… We’re going to have tons of surprises. She’s not going to know what hit her, but it’s going to be an extravaganza.”
Kotb had nothing but kind words to say about Gifford, a woman she said she learned a lot about the television industry from. While she explained that the 65-year-old entertainer will be sorely missed on Today and in her daily life, she also said that she understands why Gifford is exiting the series.
“It’s bittersweet, obviously… but Kath is ready. You can see it in her eyes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her this happy,” stated Kotb.
Meanwhile, also at the Hudson River Park Friends event, Jenna Bush Hager, who has worked as a Today contributing correspondent and fill-in host since 2009, told Entertainment Tonight that Gifford has “been such a mentor to all of us” and taught everyone “how to work with humor.”
“She’s not leaving until April, so we have months and months and months to celebrate her and she deserves nothing less,” the 37-year-old daughter of former President George W. Bush and granddaughter of former President George H.W. Bush said about the TV veteran.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Bush Hager is one of the people being widely talked about to replace Gifford on the morning chatfest, and she said that “it would be great” to receive that job promotion.
Gifford — the mother of 28-year-old son Cody and 25-year-old daughter Cassidy — is departing Today to focus on other projects, including acting, music, and books.
This will be her second major television send-off. It was also a big deal in July of 2000 when she left the talk show Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, which she had been co-hosting with Regis Philbin for 15 years, since June of 1985.
Gifford’s last day on the fourth hour of Today will reportedly be sometime during the week of April 8.