More than two months after Kathie Lee announced her exit on “Today,” they have found a replacement!
Hoda Kotb will now co-host the 10:00 a.m. hour of the morning show with Jenna Bush Hager, who will start the gig in April.
Jenna told People magazine, “I’m so excited, I can’t believe it. It feels organic and it feels right. It just feels like the right time for me.”
She added, “I’ve been the fill-in which is a fun position to be because there’s no pressure but you could just have a blast. So, to take it to the next level is awe-inducing.”
According to a source, Hager was the “favorite” to replace Lee. The source pointed out, “She is a favorite among viewers and staffers and she has already filled in for Kathie Lee every time she’s been away.”
Kathie also approved of the choice, calling Jenna “the perfect fit.”
Hoda shared with People, “Being around Jenna is like being around the most real person. She says exactly what she thinks and believes and there’s something about her that makes you do two things. You lean in because you want to know more and also you kind of weirdly tell her your secrets and you’re like ‘Oh, my God, I just blurted all that out!’”
“She has this thing that’s special. I know that people try to have it but I think you’re born with it,” Kotb continued. “And Jenna has it and it’s the thing that makes her laugh at herself when she spills coffee on herself. It’s the way that she makes other moms feel good enough because she explains how she’s had the worst day ever and puts it out there.”
Earlier this morning, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim sent out an internal memo to employees to announce the big news. The memo put emphasis on Jenna’s strengths, saying, “Jenna joined TODAY nearly ten years ago and she quickly became a fixture in our family. Her compassion and curiosity come through in all of her stories, along with her Texas-sized sense of humor. Jenna instantly connects with everyone she meets, whether they are guests on our show or fans on the Plaza.”