In just a few weeks, longtime Today cohost Hoda Kotb will bid farewell to longtime cohost and partner-in-crime Kathie Lee Gifford. As such, Kotb opened up about building a rapport with Jenna Bush Hager, who was recently named as Gifford’s successor. Kotb’s conversation, which took place with Entertainment Tonight on Monday, also focused on Kotb’s hopes that new cohosts find their “magic moments” together.
Kotb said she’s steeling herself for Gifford’s departure on April 5.
“It’s like being in a relationship with someone for 11 years, who you love, and saying, ‘Well, you know, we’re not going to see each other nearly as often.’ That is a hard thing to do,” Kotb told ET. Still, she is looking forward to a new dynamic with Bush Hager.
“Jenna is full of depth and wisdom and humor,” Kotb said. “For a person who spent her life in front of [the world], she’s so strangely down to earth. I’m so excited, not for just me but for everybody, to learn more and more about her.”
Kotb compared the new cohosting relationship to a new dating relationship: “Pretend like you were dating someone for 11 years and it ended amicably, and then all of a sudden you started dating someone else,” she explained. “You’re not gonna go to the same restaurants or talk about the same things, or you know you’ll make it different, but I think you have to figure out what that is by being together.”
She continued, “So I think, as we go through it together, we’ll figure out where are magic moments are.”
Kotb tweeted on Feb. 26 about the changing of the guard at Today:
A big day here @klgandhoda ! So much love today. @JennaBushHager will be joining me as a cohost of the 4th hour… my heart is bursting !! and to be honest breaking a little too.. as we get set to say goodbye to @KathieLGifford . A legend and my friend.
— Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) February 26, 2019
Kotb — who is currently enjoying the release of her latest kids’ book, You Are My Happy — raved that her years working with Gifford “changed my life immeasurably.”
“Her absence will be felt throughout NBC in a way that is very profound, and she’s left a mark that will be there forever,” Kotb continued. “Some people come and go… but people will never forget Kathie Lee.”
We’re guessing people will feel the same about Kotb — and possibly Bush Hager — someday too.