Although she has to sadly bid farewell to her beloved friend and longtime Today cohost Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb is looking forward to welcoming her new cohost Jenna Hager Bush to the morning show’s popular fourth hour. “Jenna is full of depth and wisdom and humor,” the 54-year-old shared with Entertainment Tonight on Monday, March 4. “For a person who spent her life in front of [the world], she’s so strangely down to earth.”
It’s going to be a bittersweet day for Hoda when her wine-loving TV BFF says goodbye on April 5. “Her absence will be felt throughout NBC in a way that is very profound, and she’s left a mark that will be there forever,” the brunette beauty added of KLG. “Some people come and go … but people will never forget Kathie Lee.”
Kathie Lee, 65, been a Today favorite ever since she began appearing on the show in 2006, but it was her hour with Hoda that launched in 2007 that made America fall in love with the two. “It’s like being in a relationship with someone for 11 years, who you love, and saying, ‘Well, you know, we’re not going to see each other nearly as often,” Hoda explained. “That is a hard thing to do.” Despite losing Kathie Lee, Hoda thinks NBC found the perfect replacement in Jenna, 37. “I’m so excited, not for just me but for everybody, to learn more and more about her,” she added.
Hoda even dished that the new fourth hour is going to be different than what fans are used to. “Pretend like you were dating someone for 11 years and it ended amicably, and then all of a sudden you started dating someone else,” the You Are My Happy author explained. “You’re not gonna go to the same restaurants or talk about the same things or you know you’ll make it different, but I think you have to figure out what that is by being together.” The television personality added that going through the change with Jenna will help them “figure out where our magic moments are.”
As NBC continues to undergo big staffing changes, Hoda revealed one thing that isn’t going anywhere. “The wine has to stay! I mean it’s a party, it will always be a party,” the mom-of-one quipped. “I mean, things will change but the wine will stay.” Sounds good to us!