NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) NBC news chief Noah Oppenheim has announced that Kathie Lee Gifford has decided to exit the “Today” show, where she has hosted its fourth hour since 2008, much of it alongside Hoda Kotb.
Gifford also announced her departure during the show this morning.
“I know somebody wonderful will be sitting in this seat afterwards” she said, adding, “I have my idea of who might be absolutely wonderful – but there is a great pool of talent and beauty and heart right within our family.”
There is heavy speculation that her seat will be filled by Jenna Bush Hager, who recently returned to work for the “Today” show after taking a week off to mourn the passing of her grandfather, President George H.W. Bush.
Below is Noah Oppenheim’s internal memo (h/t Deadline)
From: “Noah Oppenheim
It is with mixed emotions that I share the news Kathie Lee Gifford has decided it’s time to leave TODAY.
As we all know, Kathie Lee’s plate has been overflowing lately with film, music and book projects, and after giving us eleven extraordinary years, she’s decided to focus her attention full-time on those other creative endeavors.
When we first launched this incredible hour, no one could have predicted the lightning (or rather, wine) in a bottle that is Hoda & Kathie Lee. Whether in studio or on one of their many road trips, they have delighted our audience with their distinct brand of fun, friendship and adventure. During that time, Kathie Lee has cemented her status as one of the most enduring and endearing talents in morning television. In short – she is a legend.
Jimmy Fallon summed it up best when he channelled Kenny Rogers on the tenth anniversary show earlier this year: Through the years, Kathie Lee has never let us down, she’s turned our lives around and she’s brought some of the sweetest days we’ve found…
As Kathie Lee told me today: “In 2008, I joined the TODAY Show family intending to spend one year. But something unexpected happened along the way: I fell in love with a beautiful, talented, extraordinary Egyptian goddess named Hoda, and an amazing group of individuals who work tirelessly and joyfully at their jobs, many of them starting at midnight, creating an unprecedented four hours of live television. I stayed year after year making a million memories with people I will never forget. I leave TODAY with a grateful heart but I’m truly excited for this new creative season in my life. Many thanks to all the wonderful people who made the years fly by.”
Kathie Lee is generously staying with us through the show’s next anniversary, April 7, 2019. We will have much more to share before then about our plans for that hour, which will, of course, continue to include Hoda.
Please join me in congratulating Kathie Lee on a dazzling run at TODAY. We look forward to celebrating her in the months to come.