It's the end of an era! After 11 years, Kathie Lee Gifford will grace the fourth hour of the "Today" show for the last time on April 5, 2019. In honor of the iconic morning TV host departing her post alongside Hoda Kotb, Wonderwall.com is rounding up some of her best moments on the "Today" show since her 2008 debut. Keep reading to reminisce…
In April 2008, eight years after leaving her hosting gig with Regis Philbin on "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee," Kathie Lee Gifford embarked on a new morning show adventure: She made her debut on the fourth hour of the "Today" show alongside her new co-host, Hoda Kotb. The chemistry between the ladies quickly resulted in nearly double the ratings of their predecessors, Ann Curry and Natalie Morales.
Kathie Lee Gifford, is that you? For her first Halloween at the "Today" show, where anchors famously dress up in elaborate costumes, Kathie Lee's look was so amazing, she was unrecognizable! The theme that year was storybook characters. Hoda Kotb dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, so it was only natural that Kathie Lee transformed into the Big Bad Wolf!
In March 2009, Kathie Lee Gifford turned the "Today" show into a family affair! With Hoda Kotb out, Kathie Lee's husband, former NFL star Frank Gifford, stepped in to fill her shoes and help with hosting duties.
Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb joined the rest of the "Today" crew in adhering to a "Star Wars" theme for Halloween 2009. Hoda transformed into an insanely impressive Yoda, and Kathie Lee donned a costume to become the show's resident C3PO.
Among the more memorable moments of Kathie Lee Gifford's early years on the "Today" show? When Richard Simmons stopped by, Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb exercised alongside the workout guru in January 2010.
By 2010, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb had truly hit their stride. They won an Emmy — "Today" was named outstanding morning program — and fans were loving their hour of the show. One thing that set them apart? Kathie Lee and Hoda embraced day drinking: They were often seen sipping a glass of wine during their intro and partaking with their celebrity guests, like they did here with Neil Patrick Harris.
In May 2010, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb did something most TV hosts wouldn't dare: They went makeup-free for an entire show. "This is us!" Kathie Lee announced as they wiped their makeup off as cameras rolled at the start of the show. The daring move resonated with viewers, as fans loved how the hosts continued to keep things real on live TV.
You know you've made it when you're spoofed on "Saturday Night Live"! Kristen Wiig was tapped to impersonate Kathie Lee Gifford in the comedy show's skits that parodied the fourth hour of "Today," which typically focused on the hosts getting drunk on air. Kathie Lee and Kristen came face to face in May 2010 when the comedian stopped by the "Today" show.
In June 2010, Kathie Lee Gifford's son, Cody Gifford, got a gig on the "Today" show. Kathie Lee and Frank's eldest child had an internship at the NBC program for the summer, and a spot on his mom's hour of the morning show reviewing movies. Cody had an interesting perspective, as he was a film student at the University of Southern California at the time.
In 2010, Kathie Lee Gifford was the star of the "Today" show's Halloween broadcast when she stepped out as the one and only Lucille Ball. That year, the hosts were channeling pop culture personalities. Partner Hoda Kotb dressed up as Lucy's bestie, Ethel Mertz, while Sara Haines took on the role of Lucy's husband, Ricky Ricardo.
When Kathie Lee Gifford or Hoda Kotb couldn't host their hour of the "Today" show, it was always fun to see who would stop by and fill in as a guest co-host. In March 2011, Kathie Lee tapped reality star Kris Jenner to fill in for Hoda. The two are actually very close pals — their families have even vacationed together in the past. Fun fact: Kathie Lee is the godmother of both Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner.
Some pretty big names stopped by the fourth hour of the "Today" show during Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb's run. The one and only Jennifer Lopez stuck around to talk to the ladies after being previously interviewed by Meredith Viera on an earlier segment. The superstar debuted her new music video for "I'm Into You" in May 2011.
Fresh off the excitement of Prince William and Duchess Kate's wedding, "Today" hosts channeled members of Britain's royal family for Halloween 2011. Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb went as Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice in their infamous fascinators and ensembles from the big day.
December 2011 saw another iconic workout take place on "Today" when Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb were joined by the legendary Jane Fonda. Jane gave the ladies a lesson on her latest workout for seniors from her then-new video "Jane Fonda Prime Time." As she showed Kathie Lee and Hoda the moves, Jane even sported the same leotard she wore way back in 1981 on the cover of her fitness book "Jane Fonda's Workout Book."
It was a family affair on "Today" for Kathie Lee Gifford in January 2012! Husband Frank Gifford and mom Joan Epstein both stopped by the show, played a game and welcomed a drop-in from another important man in Kathie Lee's life — Regis Philbin.
At "Today," costumes aren't just for Halloween! For a February 2012 episode, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb donned their best '80s ensembles for a fun '80s-centric show.
Plastic surgery on the air? OK, so no scalpels were involved, but Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb got seriously real on a May 2012 episode of "Today" when Dr. Patricia Wexler stopped by to help show viewers some popular cosmetic procedures. On the now famous episode, Kathie Lee underwent a non-invasive eyebrow lift on the air while Hoda opted to get laser hair removal as cameras rolled.
When the "America's Got Talent" stars stop by your show, you have to show off your skills. Kathie Lee Gifford busted out her hula-hoop talents on a 2012 episode with "AGT" judge Howie Mandel and then-host Nick Cannon.
Back to college! In September 2012, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb got into the college spirit, donning gear supporting their favorite schools (USC for Kathie Lee and Virginia Tech for Hoda) and even sat in a faux dorm room setup complete with red Solo cups.
It was a bizarre ploy, but it certainly made for great entertainment! In March 2013 while attempting to get to a million likes on their Facebook page, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb dressed up in dog costumes while "Who Let the Dogs Out" played in the background. So why, exactly, did they pick those fuzzy puppy getups? Hoda explained, "The reason that we are wearing our dog outfits, it's our way of saying 'thank you!' Thank you for liking us on Facebook." They reached 500,000 likes that week!
Happy birthday, Kathie Lee Gifford! The host celebrated her 60th birthday in style alongside Hoda Kotb on the fourth hour of "Today" in August 2013. Hubby Frank Gifford even stopped by as Kathie Lee was feted with plenty of balloons and flowers. In the week prior to Kathie Lee's birthday festivities, Hoda was penalized by having to take a shot every time she said the word "sixty" as punishment for reminding Kathie Lee about reaching the milestone age.
2013's Halloween theme — favorite TV shows — let the "Today" hosts get a little more creative. Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb got decked out as besties Wilma and Betty from "The Flintstones."
Milking a goat on live TV… check! In November 2013, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb were joined by a goat — and they showed off their milking skills live on air. So why, exactly, were the hosts getting up close and personal with livestock? Jeremy Brandt, the host of "Jobs that Bite" on Nat Geo Wild, was the guest that day and he brought along the goat.
In July 2014 Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb talked about a new trend in speed dating and tried it on for size — wearing a brown paper bag over their heads. It's done to make people get to know each other beyond their looks, and it made for a hilarious segment on "Today."
For Halloween 2014, the theme was "Saturday Night Live," so Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb rocked out as two iconic characters from the show — Wayne and Garth from "Wayne's World." Kathie Lee rocked a dark wig to take on Wayne, while Hoda held it down as Garth.
The Gifford family suffered a devastating loss in August 2015 when Frank Gifford passed away. In true Kathie Lee Gifford form, the host was incredibly open about her personal life when she returned to work. A little over a week after his death, Kathie Lee spoke to viewers about her loss. "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. That's something that my family and I went through last week when we lost Frank," she began. She thanked fans and friends for the outpouring of love and assured them it gave her family comfort. She also sweetly shared a little bit about the "private Frank," talking about his upbringing during the Depression, which made him "the most grateful human being." And Kathie assured viewers that Frank was very happy in his life when he passed and that he died "in complete peace." She also thanked Hoda and her "Today" family, whom she credited with helping her get through the tough time.
Halloween in 2015 was inspired by "Peanuts" at the "Today" show. You might not have recognized her, but that's Kathie Lee Gifford dressed as Woodstock! And Hoda Kotb is inside that awesome Snoopy suit.
Halloween in 2016 was '90s-themed, so Kathie Lee Gifford dressed up as someone near and dear to her heart — Regis Philbin! Hoda Kotb went as Kathie Lee as the two recreated the looks the former co-hosts sported on their successful '90s show, "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee." Regis himself even stopped by to get in on the fun and give his stamp of approval.
For Halloween 2017, the "Today" show anchors decided to channel music stars. Kathie Lee Gifford's costume of choice? Singer and "The Voice" coach Miley Cyrus, which she pulled off via this floral getup and a rotating chair from the popular music competition series.
Temporary-tattoo fun! When Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb had Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Nico Tortorella as guests and discussed their new tattoo-centered show, "How Far Is Tattoo Far?," the "Today" hosts got into the spirit by giving each other surprise temporary tattoos. Hoda put "Just Ask Me To Take A Selfie" on Kathie Lee because the host hates taking selfies, while Kathie Lee put a tattoo of her own face on Hoda in October 2018.
Kathie Lee Gifford dressed up as Madonna in her infamous "Material Girl" music video for the "Today" show's 2018 Halloween episode, which featured an '80s theme.
Time to say goodbye! In December 2018, Kathie Lee Gifford announced she'd be leaving "Today" in April 2019. The decision was difficult for Kathie Lee after nearly 11 years on the morning show, but she explained that she was off to pursue personal projects, including producing Christian music and films. When she made the announcement, she also shared her fondness for her co-host, telling Hoda Kotb that she'd fallen in love with her during their time together. "You're just so special, Hoda. Thank you, thank you so much," Kathie Lee gushed. "The minute you stepped into my life, everything changed."
Kathie Lee Gifford's replacement was named in February 2019. Jenna Bush Hager will be taking Kathie Lee's spot on the fourth hour of "Today," and she's no stranger to the show. She's filled in for both Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb in the past and has served as an NBC News correspondent since 2009. "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," Jenna told People magazine of her new gig.