Last week, veteran host of NBC’s “Today” show Kathie Lee Gifford hosted her final episode of the show on the 11th anniversary of her joining the network.
It was an emotional moment for the 65-year-old, who had formed a close bond with her co-host, Hoda Kotb. Gifford said of her departure:
“Jeremiah 29 says, ‘I know the plans I have you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope.’ That’s not just true for me you guys. That’s true for everybody watching. Trust him. Let him love like he wants to love you, like I am loved by all of you. Thank you.”
Gifford was replaced by Jenna Bush Hager, 37, who has worked as a guest host for “Today” in the past.
Hager told Entertainment Tonight that she received a thoughtful gift from her predecessor ahead of her first day as host on Monday.
“[Kathie Lee] left me a bracelet that says, ‘Your joy is non-negotiable.'”
After Gifford confirmed Hager was her replacement in February, the 37-year-old had nothing but kind words for her.
She told the veteran television host:
“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.”
Hager is following in Gifford’s footsteps when it comes to her choice of refreshments on the show.
She spent her first episode hosting sipping on wine even after joking in the past that her mom, Laura Bush, wouldn’t approve. Hager explained:
“My mom judges, just so you know. She kind of does. But [the wine] is just there as a symbolic thing like, ‘Come and sit with us and come hang out with us.'”
Thankfully, Hager’s first day as host went off without a hitch. And with a good luck charm from Gifford, she likely has many more ahead of her.