Today's Hoda Kotb Returned After Extended Absence With Tearful Story About Daughter's Hospitalization

Hoda Kotb on Today with Hoda & Jenna.
(Image credit: NBC)

Viewers of NBC’s morning show Today have become accustomed to seeing Hoda Kotb’s face every weekday for over 15 years now, so any extended absence from the beloved host is going to be felt by her fans. Although the audience had been assured Kotb was “OK,” there were concerns surrounding the “family health issue” that she was said to be dealing with. Kotb finally returned to the show March 6, and she became a little emotional as she divulged that the reason she’d been out was due to her 3-year-old daughter being in the hospital.

Prior to Monday’s broadcast, Hoda Kotb appeared on a pre-taped segment of Today on February 20, but her last live show was February 17. She seemed to be fighting back tears, despite that ever-present smile, as she explained the reason she’d been out, saying: 

My youngest Hope was in the ICU for a few days and in the hospital for a little more than a week. I’m so grateful she’s home. She is back home. I was waiting for that day to come, and we are watching her closely. I am just so happy.

Hoda Kotb did not go into detail about why her daughter had been hospitalized, but for a 3-year-old to be in the ICU had to have been a terrifying time for the longtime NBC employee. Kotb expressed her thanks to co-host Savannah Guthrie — who also returned to Today after being yanked off the air mid-broadcast last week due to a positive COVID test — and her other friends who were there for her during this scary event. She continued: 

You know what I realized too, Savannah, is like when your child is ill, the amount of gratitude you can have for people who helped you out. So I am grateful for the doctors at Weill Cornell, who were amazing, and the nurses, and I’m grateful to my family and I’m grateful to friends like you who were there every single day. So I want to say thank you for that. I love you.

Savannah Guthrie returned the sentiment and assured her co-host that she had a lot of friends rooting for her and Hope. You can see Hoda Kotb’s returning message below: 

Fans had expressed concern when they didn’t see Hoda Kotb on the air over the past couple of weeks, and her Today colleagues tried to reassure viewers, while sending their love. Craig Melvin addressed the worried fans last week saying (via Deadline): 

We know some of you are wondering how she's doing. We can tell you, Hoda's OK. She's got a family health matter she's been dealing with.

Jenna Bush Hager, who had a hilarious exchange involving underwear a month ago before they traveled to Canada, also sent well-wishes to her Today with Hoda & Jenna co-host when she addressed her absence to the audience, saying: 

We adore her, we’re sending our love to her, and she’s going to be back, right here, very, very soon.

As happy as everyone surely is to see Hoda Kotb reclaim her place on the NBC morning show, it’s even better news that her daughter is home from the hospital, apparently still being monitored closely. We hope for a quick recovery for little Hope. Now that she’s back, you can see Kotb on Today each weekday morning on NBC, and be sure to check out our 2023 TV schedule to see what premieres are coming soon. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.