No one would know that Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb have spent decades in front of the camera, interviewing some of the highest profile people in entertainment, judging by the knowledge displayed on December 24. The beloved morning sidekicks were on easy duty from their typical, fast-paced routine of the fourth hour of “Today.” Like many networks, the Christmas holidays lean on family-friendly segments about shopping, recipes and entertaining the kids, and most guest performances and segments are packaged and pre-taped.

The beginning banter was much like always, with Hoda inquiring into Kathie Lee's response when someone visits on Christmas Eve with a gift, and the host does not have one. In predictable fashion, Kathie Lee quips, “Well, first, that wouldn't happen,” reminding that she doesn't mind anyone coming to join her family, but that a call first is expected. She then related how the “pressure of gifts” dissolves when a family doesn't make the celebration about gifts, but instead, about faith and family.

Finally, Kathie Lee confirmed that her response would be “Thank you very much. I don't have a gift for you,” the honest and perfectly acceptable reaction in this situation of an impromptu visit.

Considering that Hoda Kotb just did an in-depth interview with Jennifer Lopez, one of the enduring faces, and physiques, in entertainment, and that the “Kathie Lee and Hoda” theme song was written by pop songstress, Meghan Trainor, who just wed her boyfriend on her birthday, it would be reasonable to think that the hosts have a good working knowledge of the current music industry. That assumption was blown out of the water when a simple trivia game of the 2018 “Buzz” in music began.

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Off with a sputter

It’s never a good sign when the very first question requires major help, and that's just what happened to Kathie Lee Gifford. The competition led off with “What artist topped the Billboard album chart for the year, for the third time in her career?” Even without knowledge of Drake, Ariana Grande (Hoda Kotb’s choice) or Taylor Swift’s music, the force of habit would head toward Taylor Swift, but Kathie Lee Gifford only got to the answer by ultimate elimination for “Reputation.”

Next up, a question pertaining to Las Vegas residency, and which artists announced upcoming long-term engagements, among Lady Gaga, Aerosmith, Justin Timberlake, and Gwen Stefani, arose.

Hoda Kotb did hobble to the correct response of Justin Timberlake after Kathie Lee’s errant stab at Lady Gaga (Has she looked at any Golden Globe press? The awards are on NBC, after all.) Lady Gaga's residency at the Park Theater at the Monte Carlo starts on December 28.

Hoda and Kathie Lee had to work together to come up with two of the movies spoofed in Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next?” video, and they did finally come up with “Mean Girls” and “Legally Blonde,” but only after the criteria was lowered to two correct answers.

Hoda had no trouble matching “Happiest day of my life” as the caption to Nick Jonas’ wedding portrait with Priyanka Chopra.

Kathie Lee Gifford finally got Drake right as an answer, thanks to “Kiki” for “In My Feelings.”

Christmas cheer

More than a bone was thrown to Kathie Lee Gifford on the final question, “How many years has it been since Kathie Lee released her first Christmas album?” came the question from the producer, Gavin Shulman, lovingly known as “Fur face” on “Today.” “Twenty-five years ago,” Kathie Lee deliberately responded, scoring the last point.

Gifford frequently jokes at her own longevity, making consolation gifts of her past albums.

Hoda chided Shulman for not having a question about Kathie Lee's number one hits on iTunes through this past year, for which he apologized. It seems that the love fest for Gifford is already underway.

Christmas time is not meant for mournful farewells. Kathie Lee Gifford will be pursuing many more music projects in the near future. The “Today” host announced weeks ago that she will be leaving the broadcast in April, following her 11th anniversary on the fourth hour. She will be away for most of January, devoting attention to her film and music efforts, and return for a well-deserved send-off.

The presence and chemistry between these partners will be missed, even if they aren't natural whizzes at entertainment trivia.

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