Gifford announced her departure from The Today Show on Tuesday morning, in a teary-eyed segment with co-host Hoda Kotb. She is stepping away to pursue other opportunities, but after 11 years on the morning show, she, her co-stars and her fans are all emotional about the news. Still, some could not help but start to think about a replacement, and Hager was a popular first choice on Tuesday.
Hager is an NBC News correspondent and the grand-daughter of former president George H.W. Bush. She joined NBC in 2009, and has been featured most prominently on The Today Show as a contributor and correspondent. At times, she has even substituted for Kotb or Gifford as the anchor in the fourth hour.
"The only person I want in that chair after KLG is [Jenna Bush Hager,]" one fan tweeted shortly after Gifford's announcement. The sentiment was a popular one online, where many viewers felt that Hager is the natural next step for the show.
Hager herself did not answer these early calls for her instatement, though that could be a good sign for her fans. If Hager is serious about the job, she may pursue it through legitimate channels at NBC rather than indulging fan-led campaigns on social media.
She did retweet Today's clip of Gifford's announcement, however. She added a heartfelt message of love and respect for her co-worker.
"We adore you KLG," Hager wrote. "Thanks for your love, friendship and for your hilarity. You will be dearly missed."
Hager does have plenty of experience as a journalist both on the air and off the air. Before jumping to NBC full time, she released a book in 2007 titled Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope, which chronicled her experience working with UNICEF in Latin America. published another book encouraging young people to read titled Read All About It! in 2008.
She is also the editor-at-large of Southern Living Magazine, a title she obtained in 2012. The publication suits the themes and aesthetic of Today's fourth hour nicely, making her that much more of a candidate for the job.
Still, Hager is not the only person fans are interested in seeing on the show. Many are hoping to see Ann Curry return to the show, especially after all of the revelations that came out during the Me Too movement earlier this year.