April 5 marked the last time Kathie Lee Gifford took her usual spot at The Today Show‘s fourth hour anchor desk alongside Hoda Kotb. After 11 years together, Gifford announced back in February that she would be leaving the show. And her replacement – none other than the former first daughter, Jenna Bush Hager.

Hager has been a regular correspondent on The Today Show since 2009, and has slowly been given more and more air time throughout the years. When Gifford announced that Hager would be her replacement, she was confident that the news correspondent would be up to the task. In explaining her choice, Gifford referenced an episode where Hager was interrupted on live television by her daughters shouting “mommy has a cat!” Gifford praised Hager’s calm reaction. “When you stop caring about what people think, that’s when the magic happens,” said the long-time news anchor.  And when the girls came on and your mom was here…It was magic television. I said she’s going to be just fine.”


After Gifford’s final show, Hager posted a picture of the two of them and her children laughing on set. “I adore Kathie L Gifford!” she wrote. “My kids adore her. She has taught me about the power of humor, and steadfast faith. I’ll miss her laugh—and her making me laugh…again…and again and again.”


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Upon being offered the position back in February, Hager said she received an emotional text from her father, former President George W. Bush, who wrote to her, “very proud dad.” A number of high-profile celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling, also expressed excitement over Hager’s promotion.

Hager will begin as the co-host of The Today Show’s fourth hour with Kotb this week.

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