AceShowbiz - Fans of "Today" were sent into frenzy this morning after it was announced that Kathie Lee Gifford was set to depart from her 10 A.M. hour of the NBC morning show next year. Now, people are wondering who will be replacing Gifford as Hoda Kotb's sidekick on the show, and one name has been reported to be the most likely candidate for the position.
According to multiple sources, frequent show substitute host Jenna Bush Hager is the frontrunner to replace Gifford. The former First Daughter has been with the show since 2009, and that will make it a no-brainer decision to make her a permanent host.
"There's still the fourth hour, but nothing has been determined about her replacement. She’s here until April anyway. But it's looking like Jenna," a source tells PEOPLE. "She's in the mix because she is a favorite among viewers and staffers and she has already filled in for Kathie Lee every time she's been away."
Another source tells Page Six that Bush Hager, who's also a regular on the "Today" 9 A.M. panel, will fit right in with Kotb. "Jenna's my hot bet to join Hoda," the source claims.
After it was revealed that Grifford would be exiting the show in April next year, Bush Hager took to Twitter to express her feelings about the departure. "We adore you KLG," she sweetly tweeted to her colleage. "Thanks for your love, friendship and for you hilarity. You will be dearly missed."
We adore you KLG. Thanks for your love, friendship and for your hilarity. You will be dearly missed. ❤️ https://t.co/8oUduJQEgl— Jenna Bush Hager (@JennaBushHager) December 11, 2018
In related news, it was reported that Grifford had been wanting to depart from "Today". Another source reveals to Page Six that the TV icon told the execs in the fall of 2017 that she was ready to quit the job. However, the network's brass didn't easily let her go as they allegedly "begged her to stay on for another year because the all-important morning show’s lineup was in upheaval."
In an memo sent on Tuesday morning, December 11, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim wrote, "After giving us eleven extraordinary years, she's decided to focus her attention full-time on those other creative endeavors."