Jenna Bush Hager to Replace Kathie Lee Gifford on ‘Today’ Show’s 4th Hour

Bush Hager will become the permanent co-host of NBC morning show alongside Hoda Kotb in April

Last Updated: February 26, 2019 @ 7:54 AM

Jenna Bush Hager will join Hoda Kotb as the permanent co-host of the “Today” show’s fourth hour, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim announced in a memo to staff on Tuesday. She will replace longtime co-host Kathie Lee Gifford, who announced in December that she is stepping down.

“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,” Oppenheim wrote.

“While it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to Kathie Lee, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to make some changes at 10 a.m. This is just the first of many! The show is evolving, and we will have additional announcements to share with you in the coming months,” Oppenheim continued.

Bush Hager, the 37-year-old daughter of former President George W. Bush, will join “Today” in April.

“It feels humbling and I can’t believe it,” she said on the show Tuesday morning, recalling her father’s reaction when she told him 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!”

To Gifford, whom she will be replacing, Bush Hager said: “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.”

“You keep trusting your instincts and you’re going to sit next to the best person in the whole world because she has your back, because she has your heart,” Gifford replied. “It’s going to be fun. You guys are going to have a ball.”

Read Oppenheim’s full memo below:

Dear Colleagues,

We have some exciting news to share with you this morning. Jenna Bush Hager will be joining Hoda Kotb as a co-host of the fourth hour of TODAY. Jenna will officially start her new role in April after we bid a fond farewell to Kathie Lee Gifford. We will  be announcing Jenna’s new role at the top of the 10 a.m. hour this morning.  

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. 

While it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to Kathie Lee, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to make some changes at 10 a.m.  This is just the first of many! The show is evolving, and we will have additional announcements to share with you in the coming months. In the meantime, please join me in wishing Jenna a big congratulations!  

Noah