Kathie Lee Gifford has decided to leave Today after nearly 11 years of hosting the NBC morning show’s fourth hour alongside Hoda Kotb. NBC News chief Noah Oppenheim announced the transition on Tuesday, December 11, in a staff memo obtained by Us Weekly.
“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,” Oppenheim wrote.
The exec also shared the following message from the 65-year-old herself: “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.
She continued: “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.”
Gifford broke the news to viewers on air on Tuesday, saying, “It’s an exciting time for me, and I’m thrilled about the projects coming up, but it’s also hard is because the reason I stayed longer than a year is because I love everybody here. I have been in this business 120 years and never worked with a more beautiful group of people who just give, give, give every day, four hours of live television five days a week.”
Oppenheim told the staff that Gifford would stay on the show through April 7, its next anniversary.