On December 11, “Today” show morning host Kathie Lee Gifford sent shock waves throughout America as she announced that she will be leaving her spot at the desk.
Gifford has been co-host of the fourth hour of the morning show for the last ten years, sharing that time slot with now “Today” news anchor, Hoda Kotb.
The pair grew close during their time on the show, quickly becoming America’s favorite best friends.
Gifford and Kotb have been through a lot together while co-hosts of the fourth hour, including the adoption of Kotb’s daughter and the death of Gifford’s husband.
In an emotional statement, Kotb looked back at a time when their show was in its infancy.
— TODAY with Hoda & Jenna (@HodaAndJenna) December 11, 2018
She said, with tears in her eyes:
“I was writing everything down and I thought about the day that, cause you chose me and that’s how it started, and so I was thinking about like everything good that’s happened in my life has happened since you came. Like I was even thinking about everything, I met Joel cause I had to give a speech, why did I have to give a speech? Because I worked here because I worked with you. Like I wouldn’t have been there that day, I met him. Haley came as a result of our union, me and Joel, like everything happened.
I remember thinking about like how does one person step in your life and change it like that and you did that for me.”
During Gifford’s announcement, the mom of two revealed that she will be leaving the show officially in April, April 7 to be exact.
As Entertainment Tonight reports, April 7 is also Gifford’s 11th anniversary of being on Today.
Gifford also had tears in her eyes as she called her longtime co-host “so special” and described her decision to leave the show as “bittersweet.”
Following her announcement, the president of NBC News, Noah Oppenheim, released his own personal statement:
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.
Fans of the show took to Twitter revealing how saddened they were by Gifford’s decision to leave “Today”:
— Savannah Guthrie (@SavannahGuthrie) December 11, 2018
Kathie Lee Gifford announces she’s leaving the today show … and I am not well. pic.twitter.com/aqpsZyZjoY
— Lauren Hood (@lottiehoood) December 11, 2018
😢 *plays "For Good" from Wicked*
Wine glasses in the air for Kathie Lee! 🍷 https://t.co/yx7M6NaJUL
— chuck[ie] (@iGiveNoChuck) December 11, 2018
Kathie Lee don’t go pic.twitter.com/T3WpvE4Xal
— Hana Ostapchuk (@HanaOstapchuk) December 11, 2018
Not ready to say goodbye to Kathie Lee again 🙁 https://t.co/08T0krDZDL
— Mark Bernard Muise (@marsh_mellow12) December 11, 2018
I’m not crying you’re crying 😭 😭😭
— Kari Beeeee (@karkar05) December 11, 2018
The specifics for what the show has planned for when Gifford leaves have not been announced. However, people on Twitter seem to think it will be Jenna Bush Hager who will fill Gifford’s seat.