Hoda Kotb looked ravishing in red this morning, December 13, as the fourth hour of “Today” opened. Kathie Lee Gifford was sitting right beside her in a black and floral print. To an unaware observer, it might look just like any other edition of “Kathie Lee and Hoda,” if it was possible to escape the announcement from Gifford that jolted fans sipping their Java on Tuesday morning. Kathie Lee Gifford let the world know that April, the month that marked her 11 years on “Today,” would mark her departure from the show.

Hoda Kotb was the lady having the most trouble holding back the tears that day, even though she confessed that she knew what would be happening. There were only smiling this morning, and some playful teasing about Kathie Lee’s news still consuming every conversation, whether from close confidants to world leaders. When Hoda Kotb and KLG were literally pressed by the media, per TMZ, on December 12, for more news, the BFF’s of breakfast time stayed away from any hint of who would sit beside Kotb after April.

Kathie Lee insists that the big decision truly rests solely in Hoda Kotb's hands.

The word is out

Hoda Kotb is used to pulling long shifts after years with NBC and becoming a lead anchor. She was running on three hours sleep this morning, after the afternoon Christmas shindig with Kathie Lee. The pair shared plenty of pictures of the bonding moments and fun with their devoted crew, some of whom will be leaving after long careers, too.

Hoda had to don her evening glam as a guest of Jennifer Lopez.

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J Lo absolutely popped out camera lenses with her dazzling hot pink, endlessly flowing gown by Giambattista Valli for the premiere of “Second Act.” The warm and fuzzy Christmas rom-com centers on Lopez and her best friend, portrayed by her real best friend, Leah Remini, getting wrapped up in a new identity ploy to allow a meaningful restart in a new job.

Kotb had fun shots with Jennifer Lopez and company, but even at the red carpet soiree, Hoda got questioned from Leah Remini’s mom and more about Kathie Lee and the breaking news.

Exiting UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, had Kathie Lee on the brain in an interview with Kotb.

Kathie Lee assured her morning partner that the buzz would die down in time. The early announcement and Kathie Lee's time away in January to work on her music and film projects are part of the transition period. Gifford has put out playful Christmas plans with “two old ladies in South Beach, so hide the children,” only in fun.

Faith, family and a close circle of friends will be part of her celebration, no matter where she travels. No one understands this concern and attention any better than Hoda Kotb, who tenderly related that “you chose me,” to Kathie Lee Gifford on Tuesday. That fateful decision changed the news anchor’s life and future forever, and Kathie Lee confidently expressed that she knows Hoda will handle the choice of her next co-host with perfect grace.

A clean getaway

As always, Kathie Lee couldn't hide that she didn't love the new hot cocoa-flavored Hershey's kisses that Hoda Kotb nudged her to try, but she's always willing to give it a go. She wasn't too excited about Instagram [VIDEO]effects this morning, either.

There is no escaping that Kathie Lee thinks the world of Hoda Kotb. As the two ran from the crush of microphones, Gifford blurted, “She's going with me, nobody knows!” A breathless Kotb exclaimed, “We’re making our getaway!”

The only answer Kathie Lee is sure of is that the person sitting next to her friend will be “the most blessed person on earth.” While Gifford reiterated that “whoever Hoda wants, Hoda gets,” Kotb insisted that “it's all about KLG,” as they rushed arm-in-arm to elevators.

Gifford suggested that the field of choices may still be wide open, relating that the final choice may be a man or a woman.

One thing is certain, the connection on camera and in life between Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford will never be replicated, but in all things, including long-running morning TV, life moves forward.

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