Jenna Bush Hager Officially Named as Kathie Lee Gifford's Replacement on the 'Today' Show
By Antoinette Bueno
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Jenna Bush Hager will co-host the fourth hour of the Today show, it was announced on Tuesday, taking over for Kathie Lee Gifford after Gifford's last day on April 5.
Gifford and her fourth hour co-host, Hoda Kotb, announced the news on air.
"I think everybody pretty much knows that in about five weeks I'm going to be leaving the Today show after 11 wonderful, unbelievable years," Gifford said. "It's starting to dawn on us that it's really going to happen, and there's been a lot of speculation about what's going to happen, who is going to be here the following Monday, and how is the show going forward and all that, so, it's time to make the announcement as to who will be joining the program. That's exactly right. The person is -- come on out! Jenna Bush Hager!"
Bush Hager was emotional during the big reveal.
"I want to cry," she said. "I want to weep. ... I can't believe it. It feels humbling and I can't believe it."
The 37-year-old TV show personality -- the daughter of former President George W. Bush -- has been with the popular morning show since 2009. On Tuesday, Bush Hager shared her father's reaction to her landing the job, and also praised Gifford.
"My dad just wrote me 3 words: Very proud dad," she revealed. "I think, obviously, you [Gifford] have been such a role model and so generous with your time ... You are beloved here in so many ways and I can use some of your grace, and [if I could] have half of what you've done, my life would be a very happy one."
"Whoever it is, it's going to be the most blessed person on Earth," Gifford said. "We don't know if it's going to be a woman or a man or anything in between. We don't know! We're not judging; whoever Hoda wants, Hoda gets!"
ET spoke to Bush Hager just last month at the Hudson River Park Friends Playground Committee's Fourth Annual Luncheon at Chelsea Piers, where she addressed being the front runner for the high-profile gig.
"It would mean... it would be great," she said about the possibility of landing the position. "I feel like I have the best job. I get to sit next to these incredible humans, I get to travel the world and meet incredible people who are doing extraordinary things and so we'll see. We'll see."
Kotb also praised Bush Hager to ET.
"Jenna has been filling in for the past month and she's been awesome and extraordinary and she fits," she said. "We're like one big family and I think we all feel that."
On Monday, Gifford -- who's been on the NBC morning show for 11 years -- announced that her last day on the show will be on April 5. After making the announcement, Kotb presented a compilation of touching messages for Gifford from celebrities including Andy Cohen, Jay Leno and Katie Couric.
For a look back at Gifford's best moments on the Today show, watch the video below: