It’s been a big week for Jenna Bush Hager who learned that she will be the one replacing TV icon Kathie Lee Gifford, but it won’t be an easy task as we all know the difficult job that Jenna will be tackling.
“Jenna Bush has some huge shoes to fill in replacing Kathie Lee,” a source exclusively told Closer Weekly in a new interview. “Jenna looks up to her and Kathie graciously gave her her blessings. Kathie wants the show to succeed, and she’s keeping her fingers crossed that Jenna and Hoda will eventually have the great chemistry that they had.”
Kathie Lee, 65, became Hoda Kotb‘s cohost on the fourth hour of Today in 2008, and right off the bat the world saw the strong connection that the pair have, as drinking wine early in the morning while commenting on the day’s news became their “thing,” but now Laura Bush‘s daughter, 37, will try her best to fill that spot. Hoda, 54, built such a bond with her sidekick that she attributes a lot of positive things in her life to her relationship with Kathie.
“It’s funny, I met Kathie Lee and I got to sit next to a television legend and that doesn’t happen in your lifetime,” the Dateline NBC alum recently said on The Tonight Show. “A legend, she really is. And we’ve been together for 11 years. The show is a blast.” She added, “I just said to Kath the other day, ‘You know what’s funny?’ I said, I feel like every good thing in my life happened after she and I met. I got to go speak at some event — because I worked with Kath, they asked me to speak — and I happened to have met my boyfriend, [Joel Schiffman], there, who I’m with today.”
Hoda added, “Because I met my boyfriend, we adopted [my daughter] Haley. I was just saying, it’s bizarre to think that one thing happens [and it’s a domino effect]. And I said to Kath, I feel like that happened with me, I got to live all these cool dreams after meeting her. It’s pretty cool.”
The Live! alum is set to leave Today April 5, but she has nothing but kind words for her replacement. “You are not only a presence and a gift but you earned it — You earned the right to sit and be something to all these wonderful people that watch us everyday,” she said on the air. “When you stopped caring what people think, that’s when the magic happened.”