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One of Today's most prolific television personalities is stepping down. NBC News Chief Noah Oppenheim confirmed that Kathie Lee Gifford will be leaving her longtime pal Hoda, and moving on from the program. The move, while seemingly sudden and unexpected, is not believed to be shrouded in any controversy. Gifford herself confirmed the move on the show as well.
In fact, Kathie Lee is moving on from Today due to the recent career revitalization she's experienced in Hollywood. A memo detailing the departure (via Deadline) said Kathie Lee's schedule is chocked full of book-related commitments, films, and music projects, and that she's decided to commit to other creative endeavors full time. Kathie Lee will remain with Today for now and will remain with the program through the show's anniversary Sunday, April 7.
Kathie Lee Gifford's departure comes after she and co-host Hoda Kotb celebrated 10 years together on the Today show earlier this year. The program marked the celebration with Jimmy Fallon dressed as Kenny Rogers, and it appears as though the daytime series intends to hold a celebration for her departure as well. In fact, Noah Oppenheim said the program intended on celebrating her legacy "for months to come."
Gifford herself called the departure "bittersweet," and you can take a look below. Hoda Kotb has a lot of really nice things to say, so don't be surprised if you get a little teary-eyed watching.
As far as what the game plan is for the iconic Today show final hour post-Kathie Lee Gifford, Noah Oppenheim teased a replacement for her will likely be announced prior to her departure. One thing that was confirmed is that Hoda Kotb will remain a part of the hour. Kathie Lee showed some love for her long-time partner for the program's final hour in a statement released within the memo.
In 2008, I joined the Today Show family intending to spend one year. But something unexpected happened along the way: I fell in love with a beautiful, talented, extraordinary Egyptian goddess named Hoda, and an amazing group of individuals who work tirelessly and joyfully at their jobs, many of them starting at midnight, creating an unprecedented four hours of live television. I stayed year after year making a million memories with people I will never forget. I leave Today with a grateful heart but I'm truly excited for this new creative season in my life. Many thanks to all the wonderful people who made the years fly by
Kathie Lee Gifford has been busier in Hollywood lately and recently had a holiday film A Godwink Christmas release on the Hallmark Channel. She has another film, Then Came You, in post-production and even recorded a song for it. Her departure from Today will allow for more television and movies appearances elsewhere, and possibly a new show? Kathie Lee has been active in television for a long time, so it's hard to believe she's leaving without a plan.