Jenna Bush Hager Reacts to Rumors She's Taking Over for Kathie Lee Gifford on 'Today' (Exclusive)

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Kathie Lee Gifford is gearing up to leave Today in April and fans are eager to know who will step into her shoes.

On Friday, ET caught up with Jenna Bush Hager at the Hudson River Park Friends Playground Committee's Fourth Annual Luncheon at Chelsea Piers, Hudson River Park, and she spoke about being a front-runner for the job.

"It would mean... it would be great," Bush Hager, 37, gushed about the possibility of landing the job. "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."

Also present at the interview was current Today anchor Hoda Kotb, as well as Weekend Today anchor Sheinelle Jones. While Kotb, 54, said there's "no news to break" about Gifford's replacement just yet, she had nothing but praise for Bush Hager.

Jenna has been filling in for the past month and she's been awesome and extraordinary and she fits," Kotb said. "We're like one big family and I think we all feel that."

Back in December, a source told ET that "the likelihood of it going to [Bush Hager] is high" because "she's very well liked [at Today]."

That same month, Gifford told ET that her replacement will be "whoever Hoda wants!"

"Whoever it is, it's going to be the most blessed person on Earth," Gifford said about her replacement. "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!"

Before Gifford makes her exit, her co-workers are busy praising her for all her hard work throughout more than 10 years.

"Kathie Lee taught me how to eat peanut butter off a spoon!" Bush Hager said. "She has really shown all of us how to work with humor, but how to put her family first. She's done that through all these years and she's been such a mentor to all of us."

"She just never takes anything too seriously," Kotb added. "Everyday is like a little party and I think she's taught all of us... a trip is not a fall. It's not an epic fall. It's a moment. You pick yourself up and you keep going and she does it with laughs. I feel like I learned television from her. I've been in it 20 years before her, but I learned it from her."

"Working with her is like a master class. Every time you sit next to her," Jones, 40, gushed. "I remember when I first started, I had my earpiece in, she's like, 'Oh, no no no! Be free. You don't need an earpiece. Take a sip of that wine!' I'm like, no! I can't take a sip. 'Take a sip!' OK! And it was the best show, the best experience and you're free. And that's just the best form of television. It's just authentic."

As for how Today will honor Gifford before she departs, Bush Hager and Kotb assured fans that they have massive plans to celebrate her work.

"She's not leaving until April, so we have months and months and months to celebrate her and she deserves nothing less," Bush Hager said.

"You've heard of the Queen's Jubilee? Multiply that by about 10 and that's going to be Kathie Lee's sendoff. We are planning an epic sendoff," Kotb teased. "I mean, it's bittersweet, obviously, because she's been such a part of my life for sure and the show's life, but Kath is ready. You can see it in her eyes. I don't think I've ever seen her this happy but we're going to have tons of surprises. She's not going to know what hit her, but it's going to be an extravaganza."

When the women aren't working on Today, they're all busy raising their children, which they credit as the main reason for their involvement in the Hudson River Park Friends Playground Committee that raises funds for play areas, sports, environmental education programs and events.

"I love being outside. We all have little kids and this is our backyard now, which is different than how any of us grew up, but it's so important that our kids get outside and play," Bush Hager said of her daughters, Margaret, 5, and Poppy, 3.

"I never imagined that I would be here at an event like this talking about my daughter going to the park, but it happens and, man, if she has her one place to go, it's any swing, anywhere, at any time," Kotb said of her 1-year-old daughter, Haley.

Gifford's last day on Today will be on her 11-year anniversary at the show, April 11, 2019. Watch the video below for more on the morning show anchor:


Inside Jenna Bush Hager's TV Career and Her Future With 'Today'

Kathie Lee Gifford on Her 'Today' Successor: 'Whoever Hoda Wants!'

Jenna Bush Hager in the Running to Replace Kathie Lee Gifford on 'Today'

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