Jenna Bush Hager in the Running to Replace Kathie Lee Gifford on 'Today'
By Scott Baumgartner
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Only hours after Kathie Lee Gifford announced her departure from the Today show, ET has learned that NBC executives are “strongly considering" contributor and correspondent Jenna Bush Hager for the position.
“The likelihood of it going to her is high. She’s very well liked here [at the show and network],” the source says. She would theoretically be filling Gifford’s seat in the show’s fourth hour after she leaves the program on April 7, 2019, the 11-year anniversary of her start on the show.
ET has reached out to NBC for comment.
Since joining the show in June 2009, 37-year-old Bush Hager has appeared more and more often on the daytime show, often covering for Carson Daly in Today's Orange Room during the 7-9 a.m. block or filling in for Gifford or Hoda Kotb in the fourth hour.
Besides her time working in front of the camera, Bush Hager, the daughter of former president George W. Bush, has also worked as a teacher and author.
Gifford's announcement on Tuesday was an emotional moment, where she expressed her gratitude to the show's crew and her co-host, Kotb.
"I have something to share with everybody and it's bittersweet, as these things always are, but I've been here almost 11 years," she began. "Thought I would stay one year. Something happened along the way. Fell in love with a beautiful Egyptian goddess and now, when it's our 11th anniversary, I'm going to be leaving the Today show. It's an exciting time for me and I'm thrilled about all the projects that are coming up, but it's also hard because the reason that I stayed longer than a year is because I love everybody here so much."
Later, she explained that her decision to leave is to enable her to pursue several creative projects including filming a short in Israel soon, which will also be her directorial debut. The 65-year-old TV personality also hinted that she “sorta” has a project coming together with Dolly Parton and Roma Downey as well.
"The roadblocks are gone. It just seems like it's the time,” she stated.