— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 11, 2018
Kathie Lee Gifford will be stepping down as co-host of the boozy fourth hour of The Today Show, Deadline reports. In a memo to staff, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim wrote that Gifford will be leaving the show, which she has co-hosted with Hoda Kotb since 2008, next year. Her last day will be April 7, 2019, her 11th anniversary.
Gifford announced her “bittersweet” departure during Tuesday’s show. She said she only planned to stay one year but she “fell in love with a beautiful Egyptian goddess” Hoda Kotb and stuck around for a over a decade. “It’s an exciting time for me and I’m thrilled with all the projects that are coming up,” she said, getting a little a choked up as she spoke. “But it’s also hard, because the reason that I stayed longer than a year is because I love everybody here so much.”
Gifford’s exit continues a tumultuous period at Today. Longtime anchor Matt Lauer was ousted in 2017 due to sexual misconduct, and Kotb was promoted in his place. She currently anchors the 7-9 a.m. hours with Savannah Guthrie as well as the 10-11 a.m. hour with Gifford. Megyn Kelly was given the 9 a.m. hour in the fall of 2017, but Megyn Kelly Today was canceled in October 2018 due to low ratings and repeated controversies culminating in her defending blackface.