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Kathie Lee Gifford announced on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, that she will be leaving “Today” in April 2019.
The 65-year-old host made the announcement on the NBC morning show, alongside her co-host Hoda Kotb, who was choked up.
I have something to share with everybody, and it’s bittersweet as these things always are. I’ve been here almost 11 years; though I would stay one year, something happened along the way, I fell in love… And now, when it’s our eleventh anniversary, I am going to be leaving the ‘Today’ show.
Gifford wants to focus on other projects, such as the 11-minute film, “The God Who Sees,” which is being filmed in Israel.
Kotb told Gifford that everything changed when she stepped into his her. “Everything good that has happened in my life has happened because you came.”
The co-hosts had to dry their eyes as they cried while they remembered their time on the air together. Kotb spoke of when she first met Gifford and being invited to her home. She emotionally recalled an interaction with her co-host’s late husband Frank Gifford, who let her know she was going to be working with the “most trustworthy” person.
I want to thank everyone who has watched us all these years as well because we started out as a nothing burger and we were outside on the plaza and the wind was blowing and the cards were flying and it was a disaster. I know somebody wonderful will be sitting in this seat afterwards. I have my idea of who might be absolutely wonderful, but there’s a great pool of talent and beauty and heart right within our own family. And if they come from outside the (‘Today’) family, they will soon become family because you all treat everybody that way.
It was in 2008 when Gifford joined the “Today” staff. She explained to viewers that she stayed with the show for so long because she loved the people she was working with.
I’ve been in the business 120 years, and I’ve never worked with a more beautiful… group of people, who just give, give, give every day for four hours of live television every day five days a week… And we do life together and nobody more so than my Hoda… You’re just so special, Hoda. Thank you so much.
By Jeanette Smith
USA Today: Kathie Lee Gifford announces she’s leaving ‘Today’ show