The reality of Jenna Bush Hager’s new gig as a co-host on the fourth hour of the Today Show set in the night before her first day. Hager is replacing Kathie Lee Gifford, who starred alongside Hoda Kotb for 11 years on the lighthearted television segment. Knowing she’d have to adjust to her new schedule of very early mornings, Hager went to bed early Sunday night. However, she found it difficult to sleep out of anticipation of what was to come. While scrolling through her phone she came upon the new Instagram page for her show, Today with Hoda & Jenna. She knew that she had big shoes to fill. Nevertheless, her first day on Monday went smoothly, complete with a visit from her daughters, according to Today.
Hager was welcomed into her gig with a videotaped message from her friends and loved ones. Her father, former president George Bush was among those who wished her well.
“Hey, Jenna, your old dad here on film to tell you how much I love you and how proud I am of you. I know you’ll do a fabulous job,” he said.
Her daughters, 3-year-old Poppy and 5-year-old Mila, also shared their excitement for their mother along with the request that they be allowed to come and make an appearance sometime. They got their wish. During the show both girls came running in to greet Hager while wearing matching floral dresses. Her husband, Henry Hager, joined them and offered his wife a bouquet of flowers to congratulate her. Hager could hardly contain her emotion.
The first episode of the new fourth hour was filled with a lot of laughter, a few happy tears, and smiles all around. It was the show many expected from Hager, the laid back and fun-loving Bush daughter who is known for keeping it real. Hager’s positivity and genuineness was what caused her to become popular with fans throughout her years as an occasional correspondent for the network. She was already close friends with Kotb and frequently served as a fill-in for Gifford when she was away. Thus, when Gifford first announced her plans to retire from the show back in December of 2018, Hager was deemed by many as the perfect replacement.
While it is the job she always dreamed of, Hager is keeping humble. She took to Instagram to share her excitement prior to the big day.
“OMG. THIS is happening. I couldn’t be more honored and thrilled to be a part of something new. And yes, excited..and nervous in the most beautiful way. Oh, and I get to sit next to the force that is @hodakotb!”