- Kathie Lee Gifford hosted the fourth hour of the “Today” show for the last time after 11 years on the program.
- Gifford initially announced her departure in December after more than a decade in a fan-favourite pairing with co-host Hoda Kotb.
- Personal tributes from celebrities and fans of the 65-year-old host flooded social media in the days leading up to her departure.
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Kathie Lee Gifford bid the “Today” show goodbye in her last appearance after 11 years on the program.
Gifford announced in December that she would be leaving the fourth hour and co-host Hoda Kotb to pursue other projects.
In the week leading up to her official departure, celebrities and fansflooded the show’s social media with personal messages to the longtime host, who is known for guzzling wine and offering candid comments on the show.
Gifford, a veteran of hosting ABC’s “Live” alongside Regis Philbin, and Kotb, a longtime journalist on NBC News’ “Dateline,” were first paired up in 2008 as an apparent odd couple, but quickly grew into fan favourites.
“It should not have worked, it was a weird pairing and everybody knows it,” Kotb said in an NBC video about the pair’s anniversary. “You’ve got an Egyptian journalist and a postmenopausal has-been … who would ever put that together?”
In their last appearance together, Gifford reflected on their partnership as central to her success on the show.
“God brought Hoda into my life for all kinds of different reasons,” Gifford said. “I was supposed to learn from her. She was supposed to learn from me. We were supposed to share life together.”
After the announcement, Gifford told People that after the deaths of her husband and mother and her children’s moving away, she had no further ties to New York except the show after becoming “a widow, an orphan and an empty-nester all at once.”
The 65-year-old told the magazine she plans to move to Nashville to join close friends and continue her various charity and acting work.
Jenna Bush Hager will replaceGifford as executives hope to maintain the fourth hour’s casually fun chemistry.