The news is out! Jenna Bush Hager will join Hoda Kotb as the permanent co-host of the Today Show’s fourth hour later this year, the show announced on February 26. She started working with the show in 2009 and has interviewed everyone from Joanna Gaines to Michelle Obama, but is now formally taking on the role of co-host when Kathie Lee Gifford steps down.
On December 11, Kathie announced that she was going to leave Today after over a decade of hosting the four-hour morning show. She plans to stay on the program until her next anniversary — April 7, 2019. That’s when Jenna’s gig becomes really official. Jenna, 37, said on the show on February 26, “It feels humbling and I can’t believe it,” before adding in regard to Kathie, “You have been such a role model and so generous with your time … You are beloved here in so many ways and if I can use some of your grace and have a half of what you’ve done, my life will be a very happy one.”
When Kathie, 65, announced her upcoming departure from the show, she said, “OK, I have something to share with everybody. It’s bittersweet as these things always are, but I have been here almost 11 years. Thought I would stay one year. Something happened along the way and fell in love with a beautiful Egyptian goddess and when it’s our 11th anniversary I will be leaving the Today show. I know. It’s an exciting time for me and I’m thrilled about the projects coming up, but it’s also hard is because the reason I stayed longer than a year is because I love everybody here.” We can see how it would be hard to move on, even if it feels like it’s time.
Kathie added, “I have been in this business 20 years and never worked with a more beautiful group of people who just give, give, give every day, four hours of live television five days a week. We laugh and support one another and know each other’s kids names and know when somebody is having a colonoscopy.” That’s … certainly an interesting job perk.
As for Jenna, she shared with Kathie and Hoda, 54, on Tuesday’s show what her father, former President George W. Bush, told her after learning the news. “My dad just wrote me three words, which made me weep. He said, ‘Very proud dad.’ Which I’m like, what is there to be proud about? I’m just drinking wine in the morning!” Now that’s a job perk! Congrats, Jenna!
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