Longtime television personality Kathie Lee Gifford almost didn’t co-host the Today Show‘s beloved fourth hour! When she was given the Today job offer, she shockingly turned it down. Luckily though, now-good friend Hoda Kotb sat down with Kathie Lee and changed her mind.
While celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kathie Lee and Hoda’s hour on the show, the 64-year-old revealed the details of her original denial. After an NBC show producer tried to get her to take the job, she decided to tune in to the show to check it out for herself and see if she’d be interested. “There was Ann Curry — lovely woman — with five white shirts on those form things [mannequins], and she and an expert were discussing which white shirt holds up best in the wash,” Kathie Lee explained to the Rainbow Room crowd on Wednesday, April 4, which included Savannah Guthrie, Megyn Kelly, Willie Geist, and Carson Daly. “I wanted to kill myself by the third shirt.”
Hoda also admitted that 10 years ago, Today was definitely on the boring side. “When this show started out, it was Ann Curry, Natalie Morales, and me. And the show was a little bit of a snooze. Everybody knows that’s the case,” she said. So she probably wasn’t surpised when Kathie Lee called the producer back and said, “I love you, but I would rather rip my toenails out than have to do that.”
But thankfully, Hoda was persistent and took Kathie Lee out to lunch — appropriately at the Rainbow Room — and after two and a half hours of chatting, she finally agreed to accept the offer. Now, we can’t picture the 10 a.m. hour of Today any other way, full of fun, laughter, and so much wine.
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