Fans of the Today show were heartbroken to learn that Kathie Lee Gifford is leaving the NBC show after 11 years. And now, they’re wanting to know why she’s announced her departure, especially since she and her longtime co-host, Hoda Kotb, are clearly BFFs.

Kathie Lee Gifford
Getty Images

During the Tuesday, Dec. 11 episode of the talk show, Kathie Lee described her reasoning is that she’s working on new projects — and we can’t argue with it. “I have a lot of film projects coming up. I’m going to spending a lot of time in Israel shooting… I’m going to start directing — first time I’m directing an 11-minute film based on a song I wrote with Nicole Seamullen, called ‘The God Who Sees’. We are going to do all of that in Israel. I’m excited about that. That will be out hopefully by Easter time,” she revealed. “Then we are going to do four more of our Whiskey and Wine movies. Then some other ones I can’t say yet, but we’ve been trying to make them for 16 years. Finally. It’s like the roadblocks are gone. I don’t know it seems like it’s the time. So I’m excited about it.”

NBC News chief Noah Oppenheim further echoed Kathie Lee’s claim in a statement following her announcement. “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 said.

On top of Kathie deciding it’s time to move on for her projects, things have also changed a lot for Kathie over her past few years at Today. “When Kathie Lee Gifford first signed with Today she had a lot of perks. There was a time she was doing a musical in Seattle and they moved the whole production out to the west coast for one broadcast for it,” a source exclusively told Closer. “Kathie even had it in her contract that she was allowed to sing a song on the show which she had written, which she loved doing but it was seen as embarrassing and eventually NBC cut it out, which upset her. Now a lot of the perks she had have gone and she’s just over working at Today.” We’re going to miss her so much!

Join our Facebook group for the latest news and updates on the Today show!