Kathie Lee Gifford may be feeling like the close to five weeks left before her simultaneous celebration and departure after 11 years on “Today” are lasting longer than her career in daytime TV. Nonetheless, the entertainment veteran had warning once she tearfully announced her decision to depart the “Today” show last December that her broadcasting BFF, Hoda Kotb, and the entire crew who keeps the wine glasses filled would not let her leave without proper honors.

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Monday's have officially been dubbed as "reserved for Kathie Lee’s Loving, Laugh-filled, Legendary, Long, Lavish Goodbye.” Besides being quite a mouthful, the heaping emotion may be having a reverse effect on the ever-positive Gifford.

“Hodie and I don’t like these,” insists Kathie Lee Gifford before letting a montage of massively-respected hosts in daytime TV role. Perhaps their disdain is due to Kathie Lee's final days drawing closer, or perhaps it feels like a tear-jerking overkill.

Hoda Kotb introduces another salute to Kathie Lee Gifford from friends on TV. [Image source:TODAY-YouTube]
Hoda Kotb introduces another salute to Kathie Lee Gifford from friends on TV. [Image source:TODAY-YouTube]

No matter, there is no denying that Gifford has connected both personally and professionally with a cavalcade of superstars, and so many had something to say about their memories and the future for Kathie Lee Gifford.

Rolling out in praise

Watch What Happens Live” host, Andy Cohen, brought out his beautiful baby boy, Benjamin (Bennie), to bring best wishes to Gifford. Everyone loves a baby, and Phil Donahue reminded that he was “Marlo’s husband,” just for good measure.

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Her former colleague, Katie Couric, commended Kathie Lee for “putting yourself out there” with “extraordinary spirit” along with wisdom.

Regis Philbin was visibly moved in his praise that “the best part of my life was 15 years I spent with you,” and even the celebrity fans agreed. “Whatever he hit her with, she came back with something else,” complimented Jay Leno of the Philbin-Gifford shtick that made TV magic. Meredith Viera says that along with being smart and funny, “she loves her wine,” so that ingredient is part of the magic potion, too.

Kathie Lee Gifford recently related that her time on Good Morning America taught her that she wasn't right for becoming a hard-nosed journalist, but that understanding didn't stop Joan Lunden from admiring how Gifford always dares to “dream big, I mean out-of-the-box big,” and then pursues her dreams to fulfillment. The host has seen dreams fulfilled this year with her songwriting, singing, and her independent moviemaking project, “Then Came You,” set for release later this year.

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Andy Cohen playfully pitched that Kathie Lee would be perfect for another incarnation of his “Real Housewives” franchise, and Maury Povich pulled on his prediction for her bright future from one of his famous paternity test envelopes, shouting “You will be missed!” Jay Leno assured that he always has room for another grease monkey at his garage.

“I will always remember the great times we had together, Regis Philbin reminded. “They will always be a part of my life.”

Millions of fans feel exactly the same way after decades of having Kathie Lee Gifford ease their way into the morning from the TV screen, often displaying her characteristic laughter through tears.

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Headed for higher places

As special as it is to be lauded by dear friends, Gifford was gushing more profusely about her weekend time in a famed Nashville studio, overseeing the recording with an orchestra for her project with much- beloved Christian music artist, Nicole C. Mullen.

The two did not know each other before being introduced by a friend last year, and since last fall, they have collaborated on songwriting and worship music that began “with just her [Mullen] on her guitar,” as Kathie Lee described this morning. The beauty of the musical project already had Gifford “down on my face and lifting my hands,” as she explained this morning, February 25, in her opening of the fourth hour of “Today.” She shared some photographs with Mullen, the engineers, conductor, and producer, and promised that she will disclose more when she can.

Some filming in Israel is planned soon in conjunction with the musical collaboration. Last March, Kathie Lee Gifford’s book, co-authored with Rabbi Jason Sobel, “The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi: My Journey to the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began,” was released. She has frequently reflected on the significance of her travels to Israel, particularly with her late husband, Frank Gifford, and how her study of the Jewish roots of Christianity have deepened her faith.

Hopefully, the host won’t play hooky any days from the next few weeks of “Today.” There's only a handful of tribute. Monday's remaining.

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