"Whoever it is, it's going to be the most blessed person on Earth," Gifford told Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday. "We don't know if it's going to be a woman or a man or anything in between. We don't know! We're not judging, whoever Hoda wants, Hoda gets!"
Kotb herself was more hesitant about that part, although Gifford stressed, "Yes! No matter what she says, yes. It comes down to her."
As for who she thinks can take over for her longtime partner on the Today show's fourth hour, Kotb has her doubts. "Nobody can fill those, no one can fill those shoes," she said.
Gifford revealed on Tuesday that she'd be leaving Hoda & Kathie Lee on the show's 11th anniversary in pursuit of other projects. During Wednesday's show she made another big announcement: that she's actually taking the entire month of January off. During that time she'll be working on other creative projects, including directing a film and working with Dolly Parton.
"I'm excited about my new projects, and Hoda's going with me, nobody knows!" Gifford joked.
The 65-year-old fought back tears while announcing she was leaving earlier this week, especially while speaking to Kotb about their special friendship.
"I have something to share with everybody and it's bittersweet, as these things always are, but I've been here almost 11 years," she said on air. "Thought I would stay one year. Something happened along the way. Fell in love with a beautiful Egyptian goddess and now, when it's our 11th anniversary, I'm gonna be leaving the Today show. It's an exciting time for me and I'm thrilled about all the projects that are coming up, but it's also hard because the reason that I stayed longer than a year is because I love everybody here so much."
Kotb was also emotional during the announcement, thanking Gifford for "choosing" her as her broadcast partner 11 years ago and jumpstarting her life as she knows it.
"You chose me. And that's how it started," Kotb said to Gifford. "I was thinking about everything good that's happened in my life has happened since you came. I was even thinking about everything from — I met [boyfriend Joel Schiffman] because I had to give a speech. Why did I give a speech? Because I worked here. Because I worked with you. I wouldn't have been there that day. I met him. [Daughter Haley Joy Kotb] came as a result of our union, me and Joel."0comments
She went on, "I remember thinking about how does one person step into your life and change it like that? You did that for me."
Network executives are reportedly "strongly considering" Today show contributor and correspondent Jenna Bush Hager, a source told ET earlier this week, saying that Hager is "very well liked" on the show. "The likelihood of it going to her is high," the insider said.