Kathie Lee Gifford is leaving the Today show, Variety reports, confirming suspicions that the host will be exiting the popular morning show.
Gifford has co-hosted the fourth hour of the show for over 10 years, helming the lighthearted hour alongside Hoda Kotb. The two originally began hosting the 10 a.m. hour of Today in March 2008 after the show was expanded to four hours.
The news of Gifford's departure was announced by NBC News chief Noah Oppenheim on Tuesday, Dec. 11, Deadline shares.
"It is with mixed emotions that I share the news Kathie Lee Gifford has decided it’s time to leave TODAY," the memo read. "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."
"When we first launched this incredible hour, no one could have predicted the lightning (or rather, wine) in a bottle that is Hoda & Kathie Lee," Oppenheim continued. "Whether in studio or on one of their many road trips, they have delighted our audience with their distinct brand of fun, friendship and adventure. During that time, Kathie Lee has cemented her status as one of the most enduring and endearing talents in morning television. In short – she is a legend."
Oppenheim shared that Gifford will remain on the program through its next anniversary, April 7 2019. He also noted that the fourth hour will continue to include Kotb.
“In 2008, I joined the TODAY Show family intending to spend one year," Oppenheim quoted Gifford as saying. "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.”
Prior to her turn on Today, Gifford served as co-host on Live With Regis and Kathie Lee alongside Regis Philbin for 15 years. Before that, she was a correspondent on Good Morning America for three years.
After the announcement was made, the Today show shared a clip of Kotb reflecting on her time with Gifford and explaining the impact her co-host had on her life.
"How does one person step in your life and change it like that?" she said.
no YOU'RE crying watching hoda say goodbye to kathie lee pic.twitter.com/ugpXaOfRVr— David Mack (@davidmackau) December 11, 2018
Photo Credit: Getty / Greg Doherty