For over a decade, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb have been making viewers laugh during their third hour show, Today with Kathie Lee and Hoda. The duo made the perfect pair, bringing some light and fun into the daily news cycle. Over the years, the pair has gone through many major milestones together. Kathie Lee lost her beloved husband Frank, while Hoda finally secured her lifelong dream of becoming a mother. Though she is sad to say her farewells, Kathie Lee is now ready for a new chapter in her life and will be leaving the show this spring. Jenna Bush Hager will take her place as Hoda’s sidekick, according to E! News.
When it was first announced that Kathie Lee would be moving on from the program, there was much speculation about who would take her place. The network could go with one of its usual anchors or bring in someone totally new. Jenna seemed like the obvious choice for the gig since the beginning. She was already close friends with Hoda and the rest of the Today Show gang, having served as an occasional correspondent on the program for years. The dynamic clearly worked between her and Hoda, as the pair are able to bond over their young daughters.
— Variety (@Variety) February 26, 2019
Kathie Lee couldn’t be more pleased that the spot she has held for years will be taken on by Jenna who has become a fan favorite. However, she admits that the announcement really wasn’t a shock to anyone, calling it “the worst kept secret in show business.”
While Jenna is ecstatic for this new chapter in her life, she knows she has big shoes to fill as she told Kathie Lee.
“It feels humbling and I can’t believe it. You have been such a role model and so generous with your time. You are beloved here in so many ways and if I can use some of your grace and have a half of what you’ve done, my life will be a very happy one.”
Former President George Bush was delighted to hear the news of his daughter’s new gig. Following the announcement, he texted her the words “very proud dad.” Jenna said she was brought to tears by her father’s pride, though she joked that the third hour certainly isn’t the most serious segment of the show. “What are you proud about? I’m just drinking wine in the morning,” she laughed.