It is the end of an era for Kathie Lee Gifford!
The longtime Today show co-host has announced she is leaving the show after 11 years. The news was announced on Tuesday, December 11 in a memo to staff straight from NBC News president Noah Oppenheim. Meanwhile the 65-year-old made the announcement herself during the show with co-host Hoda Kotb.
“I’ve been here almost 11 years — I’m going to be leaving the Today show,” she began. “This is an exciting time for me and I’m thrilled about all the projects that are coming up. … I’ve been in this business 12 years and never worked with a more beautiful group of people.”
Gifford added that she “fell in love” with her co-host Kotb and continued, “You are just so special, Hoda. Thank you so much.”
Kotb also became emotional as she responded, “The minute you stepped into my life, everything changed,” and began to cry.
In his memo, Oppenheim began, “It is with mixed emotions that I share the news Kathie Lee Gifford has decided it’s time to leave TODAY.”
“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,” he continued.
“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. 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.”
“As Kathie Lee told me today: ‘In 2008, I joined the TODAY Show family intending to spend one year. 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.’
According to the memo, Gifford will stay with the show through its next anniversary, April 7, 2019.