After it was reported that Kathie Lee Gifford will be leaving the Today show in April 2019, speculation has been running rampant about who will replace Gifford to sit beside Hoda Kotb during the show's fourth hour.
According to Radar Online, it's possible NBC will need to find two replacements, as sources allege that Kotb is thinking of leaving the show's fourth hour altogether.
“Hoda is over buddying up with Kathie Lee, as well as the whole format of the show,” one source said, claiming that Kotb complained to higher-ups a few days after Gifford announced her exit.
“It’s caused a huge panic at NBC, as they can’t lose all of their most famous faces in just a few months,” the source claimed. “At the very least, Hoda wants to give up the fourth hour of Today, and they’re scrambling to find a way to make her stay.”
Gifford and Kotb have hosted Today's fourth hour together since 2008 and are extremely close. After Matt Lauer's firing, Kotb was also made a co-host of the show's first two hours.
Gifford recently revealed that Kotb had known of her exit for some time.
“Hoda’s known it for a long, long time,” Gifford told her co-hosts. “All these other projects have been bubbling up...and it’s so exciting. Movies and music and so many wonderful things. And I need the time to do them properly.”
“I went to our bosses here, actually almost two years ago and said, ‘I’m going to do one more year with Hoda woman. I’ll go out. I’ll retire with 10, a nice round number, 10 years with my sun goddess from Egypt.’ And so that was the arrangement until we had some turmoil here in our midst,” Gifford continued, referencing Matt Lauer's firing in 2017.
“Noah Oppenheim came to me and basically said, ‘Kathie, can you just stay? Stay for a little longer?’” Gifford continued. “I don’t want to leave, I just have to do my other stuff. So I said, ‘If you guys can work it out for me so I can still do my projects, and I’ll stay.’ And I was thrilled with that decision. But now there’s like, six other projects.”
Oppenheim had originally announced Gifford's departure in a memo and shared that the 65-year-old wanted to leave the show to focus on other projects. Gifford's replacement has not yet been announced, but the host made it clear that Kotb will have a say in whoever is the next person to sit at the desk during Today's fourth hour.
"Whoever it is, it's going to be the most blessed person on Earth," Gifford told Entertainment Tonight about her replacement. "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!"
Photo Credit: Getty / Raymond Hall