Kathie Lee Gifford has had a jam-packed year of projects and professional responsibilities. The “Today” host has barely unpacked from her Italian getaway with bestie and sidekick, Hoda Kotb, and this morning, Kathie Lee Gifford had another major excursion to announce. She will be leaving in about three weeks for a six-week stint in Scotland with another very special someone, her friend, Craig Ferguson. Kathie Lee announced that Craig Ferguson will co-star with her in her independent feature film, “Love Me to Death,”

Kathie Lee has experienced a year of transforming experiences.

She collaborated with “Jesus Take the Wheel” songwriter, Brett James, on three personally powerful and chart-topping songs, “He Saw Jesus, “Jesus Is His Name,” and the title song for the film. A brief conversation of concern between Gifford and Brett James brought the veteran singer back to creating music, and the result has been moving beyond words, as countless words of support have flowed in from others seeking peace and reassurance after the death of a spouse or dear one. The songs not only honor the eternal love between Kathie Lee Gifford and her late husband, Frank Gifford, but serve as a reminder that hope and life are promises of faith. The strength of that knowledge has given many in grief strength to move forward in life.

The film, “Love Me to Death,” is about moving forward and embracing dreams, too, and Kathie Lee explained how she and Craig Ferguson decided to take the wheels of their futures themselves in seeing that this “passion project” became a reality on the May 3 edition of “Today.”

Devoted friends accept no delays

Any faithful viewer of the KLG and Hoda hour of “Today” know how often Kathie Lee Gifford mentions Craig Ferguson with deep fondness, despite the necessity of the 15-second delay employed by censors for some of his playful jokes.

The bond between Ferguson and Gifford was forged forever when Ferguson filled in for a week while Hoda Kotb took maternity leave with the arrival of her precious daughter, Haley Joy. It was apparent to all that the pair “clicked” in comedy and “every other way” as Kathie Lee explained.

It was Craig Ferguson who suggested that he and Kathie Lee collaborate on a film.

With his characteristic, colorful phrasing and Scottish brogue, Ferguson bluntly put it that if they waited for their agents to get them a movie role, they’d be in the ground. That was all the spark of inspiration needed for Kathie Lee, who woke at her magic hour of 2:00 AM the next morning, “laughing at my own damn jokes” because they were in Craig's voice. Just hours later, the story was done, and the songs with James have also been completed, and he will score the project.

Excited as she was, the entertainer and author turned screenwriter sent her beginning script to Ferguson, who could not have been more supportive, affirming, “Kathie, this is your baby. I stand ready to serve,” sounding like an Army captain.

Resounding approval

As only the former late-night host could do, Craig Ferguson sent a video reply to coincide with Kathie Lee Gifford's jubilant announcement. Appearing fully clothed but dripping wet in a bathtub, he raved that Kathie Lee is “beautiful and talented and funny and charming -- but also my boss, and I'm afraid of her!” He also welcomed her to Scotland “full of giant people with beautiful teeth,” a reference that only Kathie Lee Gifford and her fans fully appreciate.

The host was clear that she did not want to write or create characters that rehashed her own personal story, but she did want the story to reflect similar values. She stars as a widow, struggling to find her way in a new life.

Unlike Gifford herself, she is not a woman of faith, but that is likely to be part of the journey that unfolds in the film. In a further departure, the lead character has always aspired to be a singer, but different from the actress bringing her to life, she was never allowed to pursue her dreams. The storyline is certain to reflect reclamation on many levels.

Kathie Lee will be away from her morning “Today” station from early June until sometime in July. Hopes are high that the film will be ready for release by Christmas.