Beloved TV personality Kathy Lee Gifford caused a major shakeup at NBC Tuesday when she announced that she would be leaving the “Today” show next April.
According to CNN, she’s co-hosted the 10 a.m. hour of the popular morning show alongside Hoda Kotb since 2008. The two of them have garnered millions of viewers and major advertising dollars for the network.
As for why she’s leaving, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim explained, "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."
"It's bittersweet, as these things always are. But, I've been here almost 11 years. Thought I would stay one year. Something happened along the way: I fell in love with a beautiful Egyptian goddess," Gifford told her audience on Tuesday, referring to co-host Kotb.
"It's an exciting time for me, and I'm thrilled about all the projects that are coming up,” she added. “But it's also hard, because the reason I stayed longer than a year is because I love everybody here so much."
According to People’s sources, “People [at NBC] are so sad she is leaving. People were sobbing.”
The source also said that Gifford wants to focus more time on producing Christian music and movies.
Gifford’s departure will leave a huge void on the “Today” show, though. However, Entertainment Tonight’s sources say a member of former President George W. Bush’s family has a high likelihood of being asked to replace her.
NBC executives are reportedly “strongly considering” the president’s daughter Jenna Bush Hager for the role. Hager, 37, is a married mother of two and is the younger twin to Barbara Pierce Bush.
The ET source said, “The likelihood of it going to her is high. She’s very well liked here.”
Hager has co-hosted the “Today” show and made numerous appearances. She also became the editor-at-large of Southern Living magazine in 2012, according to the Houston Chronicle https://www.chron.com/life/article/Jenna-Bush-new-editor-in-large-at-Southern-Living-4067913.php.
Hager participated in a memorial service for her grandfather, the late President George H.W. Bush, recently and drew tears from her father’s eyes with her Bible reading about heaven.
What do you think about the possibility of her replacing Gifford?