When the announcement come in December 2018 that Kathie Lee Gifford would be increasing her glass that Pinot Grigio for the critical time ~ above Today in April, she made it clear why she stayed on the present for 11 years. She simply "fell in love" v her partner-in-crime Hoda Kotb and the rest of the NBC morning show crew.
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But together true as that might be, Kathie Lee Gifford to be actually prepared to leave Today year ago. In fact, the 65-year-old began what she call "the process" of go away, after coming to be a widow in 2015 as soon as her husband the 29 years, candid Gifford, died. "The process" started to take even more motion in 2017, after she lost her mother, Joan Epstein.
Heartbroken without she husband and mom by her side, if her children — Cody, 29, and also Cassidy, 25 — were "living really happily in Los Angeles," Kathie Lee knew she to be at a crossroads. Living in Greenwich, Connecticut and also working in brand-new York City simply wasn"t going to work for her anymore. Something, together she says, had actually to give.
"For the first time in mine life, over there was that perfect storm of things, and also I would perform our show in the morning and also be residence by noon, and then I’d go, ‘Well, I should be act something meaningful,
Kathie Lee calls it s her "an artist," and also one that will "die ~ above the vine" if she isn"t constantly on the move producing something. And also so, emotion an overwhelming urge to collection out ~ above a brand-new adventure, she decided to offer her an alert to Noah Oppenheim, the chairman of NBC News. She initially told the she"d offer him one year to number it out, for the sake of gift a "team player." It"s the same courtesy she gave ABC when she walked far from Live with Regis and also Kathie Lee in 2000 after ~ 15 year on the program.
For the very first time in my whole life, I could do noþeles I want to do. Ns don’t need to work, yet I must work.
But everything suddenly changed when Matt Lauer to be fired because that alleged inappropriate sexual behavior in November 2017.
"That was a huge blow to the show. And also we were every reeling indigenous that, trying to all number out exactly how to process that," Kathie Lee says.
Fearing that more "shakeups" can rock the Today show even more, boy name asked Kathie Lee to continue to be one more year. The TV hold said she"d only consider it if she could additionally work top top her other projects in the meantime. Additionally, Kathie Lee do Noah promise the he would assistance her upcoming films and "make it component of the show."
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Noah agreed and kept his word. Today had actually a crew fly over to Scotland if Kathie Lee filmed Then come You v her great friend and also fellow TV host Craig Ferguson. V so lot going on in between movie-making and also co-hosting, the extra year flew by. And before Kathie Lee knew it, it was December 2018 — the moment that to be agreed upon to announce she departure.
"I knew there would be a lot of untrue story coming out if us didn’t regulate the story well and get front of it, in irradiate of what Today had been through in the past," she explains. "But once the day come I to be like, "Oh mine gosh, is this really happening?""
Another reminder that it was, indeed, yes, really happening was as soon as Kathie Lee learned the her fellow Today anchor and former "First Daughter" Jenna shrub Hager would be instead of her. If you ask KLG, she"ll call you that it was a "smart" decision ~ above NBC"s part, not just since Jenna is "adored" by anyone on the show and has a "lovely chemistry" v Hoda, but due to the fact that she"s currently established in ~ Today.
"I think over there could’ve been a lot of of good choices, yet a the majority of them were external the <Today> family," Kathie Lee says. "We kind of learned the hard way about that, and also Jenna"s tried and true. It’s going to be various ... I think it’ll be a really comfortable seat for her to sit in."
Though, together Kathie Lee knows from her lengthy career ~ above morning programs, sit in who else"s chair is no easy feat. It"s a responsibility wrought through expectations and also comparisons to the human being that came prior to you. The press will absolutely be there, yet Kathie Lee really hopes her parting words come Jenna will aid relieve some of that stress.
"I said, "You understand what, Jenna? You obtained this job since of who you are." So girlfriend just present up on the morning and also you continue to be that you are," Kathie Lee recalls. "People love friend
The great news for Jenna is the Kathie Lee and Hoda have currently found a successful style that appears to work well because that Today"s 4th hour. The course, figuring the end the hour wasn"t simple at first. As KLG speak us, as soon as she was hired in 2008, she for sure "hated" the means Today wanted to shoot the program.
Instead of gift warm and also cozy in a studio, castle were outside on the Plaza near Rockefeller center (at the facility of brand-new York City, whereby NBC is headquartered). Even the strongest hairspray didn"t stand a chance versus the wind. On optimal of that, the cheers native the audience, Kathie Lee claims, made it really hard to hear every other.
But ~ above one particularly chilly spring morning that Kathie Lee currently calls "a miracle," all of that changed. Hoda, that was "Dateline Hoda" ago then, supplied to have actually all she notes published on cards — favor a true reporter would. "That didn’t job-related for me, because she wasn’t working v a journalist, she was working through an entertainer. And also I couldn’t readjust at that point, and I wasn’t going come change. It would be ridiculous," Kathie Lee says.
Apparently, fate agreed. Moments later, a huge gust the wind took Hoda"s notes and blew castle everywhere. It was destructive for Hoda, yet thrilling because that Kathie Lee. Why? due to the fact that it to be then that the two really started talking come one another. That, along with the fact that the owners of a building nearby got the 2 co-hosts banned native the Plaza because that making too much noise at 10 a.m., to be a authorize that it was time to relocate the party indoors.
“We to be like bad children ~ above the playground … I’ve gained kicked out of so many places for having actually fun. I was kicked out of Brownies as soon as I was six, yet that"s a story for an additional time," Kathie Lee laughs.
Through the highest possible of highs and lowest of lows, Hoda has actually been Kathie Lee"s structure over the last 11 years. She keeps all of her secrets and knows simply what come do as soon as the going gets really tough.
"Hoda knows things around me that nobody does. She"s beloved," Kathie Lee begins, prior to explaining exactly how "Hoda Mama" has actually greatly affected her outlook top top life:“She"s re-acquainted me with child-like awe, even prior to she had actually her child. Ns have had actually the crap beaten out of me a lot, in a 50-year career. And also in this city and in mine business, and also in life in general ... And also it’s no that I’ve lost my happiness or my belief or noþeles else. I simply stopped … seeing the beauty, beauty in small things … she would certainly stop and take time with details things when I would be on to the next thing. She taught me to slow down a little bit ... That’s the way I used to be, actually. I’ve sort of lost that sort of evaluation of beauty, beauty in life. However I’m thankful to her for that."
And once Kathie Lee necessary Hoda the many — on august 9, 2015, the day Frank passed away (which taken place to it is in on Hoda"s birthday) — she to be there, even when Kathie Lee request her not to be. The minute Hoda got ago from her expedition to brand-new Orleans, she hopped in a car from the airport and was at Kathie Lee"s front door step one hour later.
"I knew she would, she doesn’t take it direction very well," Kathie Lee jokes. "There to be no way Hoda was no going to it is in there for me. No way. She"s the actual deal."
Their beautiful friendship has only blossomed end the years, making the increasingly challenging for KLG come bid farewell. Together, they"ve interviewed anyone from Dolly Parton and Carol Burnett come fleeting truth TV stars (though, together Kathie Lee quips, she "misses the days once you only had a guest the true success on TV.")
All that the experiences have provided Kathie Lee "a million beautiful memories" and "a couple of forever friends." In fact, Kathie Lee claims that after she last work on Friday, she"s hopping on a plane with Hoda and also sportscaster Jill Martin to have actually a "wild and crazy" girl weekend at her brand-new home close to Nashville, Tennessee.
"We don’t desire it to end. The party"s only begun," Kathie Lee declares.
To that end, Kathie Lee is excited to share that she will sometimes be popping increase on Today come visit her morning show family. But until then, it"s top top to new projects and also thinking around life beyond NBC.
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Kayla KeeganSenior News and also Entertainment EditorKayla Keegan consist of all things in the entertainment, pop society and celebrity an are for an excellent Housekeeping.
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