Kathie Lee Gifford reminded Hoda Kotb this morning that the two best friends in morning broadcasting only have 12 more mornings together as partners on the “Today” fourth hour. In an interview last week, Kotb described that she was consciously “blocking out that day” because she doesn't want to think about the last broadcast.

Kathie Lee Gifford and Hota Kotb have brought their natural banter, a gift for giggles, and mandatory wine glasses into living rooms and breakfast tables for 11 years now, and have demonstrated chemistry that seldom happens in any professional partnership.

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Beyond the smiles, both television veterans have been very open saying that they have “done life” together outside of what comes across on camera. Their most emotional moments have come in times of life's greatest joys, such as when Hoda became a mother to her beautiful daughter, Haley Joy, and through Gifford’s deepest loss of her husband, Frank Gifford.

These ladies have always been willing to be real and vulnerable, and that openness has caused millions of viewers to open their own hearts wide while they waited for “Funday Monday” and the other days of the week that are brighter because of the fun that KLG and Hoda create.

Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb trade truth, laughter, and tears in their Sirius radio interview. [Image source:SiriusXM-YouTube]
Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb trade truth, laughter, and tears in their Sirius radio interview. [Image source:SiriusXM-YouTube]

Taking a pause from the “Kathie Lee-ving Jubilee” as dubbed by Hoda, this morning’s March 14 preview of an interview between Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb for “The Final Round” on Sirius XM radio became deeply personal but still brought the laughs. Kathie Lee answered her own question, the same one being asked by faithful fans, with truth and perspective.

Knowing why

“On your last day, what will you write in your journal,” Kotb posed her question to Kathie Lee.

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“Why are you leaving?” the answer in question form followed. That question has probably been filling every minute for Kathie Lee Gifford since her December announcement of departure from “Today.” She assured Kotb and everyone else that she is never saying goodbye to “the things that matter.”

“I'm leaving a building, I'm leaving a certain job,” Gifford continued, “I'm not leaving Hoda and I'm not leaving my dear friends at NBC.”

Gifford already has plans with Kotb for a “girl's weekend” in Nashville after their parting broadcast, and promises that there will be many more.

Considering that Hoda is a fervent country music fan, it will never be hard to lure her back to Music City. “I'm going to be at Haley’s wedding,” promised Kathie Lee, interrupting herself. “First things first, how about Hoda’s wedding in my backyard?” The question drew a burst of head-back, buoyant laughter from Kotb, again, reminding the assembled fans of the unmatched chemistry as they observed with their own wine glasses.

Kathie Lee Gifford pledges to keep the renaissance in creativity, that sparked in 2017, going through all of her senior years, despite the surreal and bittersweet tinge of this turning of the page.

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History, heart, faith, and humor

Kathie Lee Gifford reminded herself and everyone that she initially pledged only one year to NBC for the launch of the added hour, “since I did not want to come back to morning TV. “ Despite her feeling that she had done her best work with Regis Philbin on “Live,” Gifford’s Emmy recognition did not come until her time at “Today.”

“I knew I would like you like crazy,” she gushed to Hoda, “but I never expected to fall in love.” Frank Gifford urged his wife to give the fledgling effort a chance, and he also promised Hoda Kotb that his wife would be the most supportive partner in television.

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Kathie Lee noted that she and Hoda were the first two females to take on their own hour of morning TV and that alone is worthy of honor. She elaborated that after Frank's passing, she truly realized that time for fulfilling her own dreams since childhood was running out. Hoda was the first person she told about her intentions to leave. When unexpected shuffles came at NBC, Gifford was asked to stay another year, and she did.

Kathie Lee Gifford has always dreamed of being the literal “Girl in the Movies,” borrowing the Dolly Parton song. Her 2017 song “He Saw Jesus” in honor of her late husband was an outreach to those in bereavement, assuring them of hope in the present and in a reunion in the afterlife. The song surged up the iTunes charts, and more collaborations with the composer, Brett James, became the soundtrack for the movie project, “Then Came You.”

The film project is awaiting release has already been screened for Kathie Lee Gifford’s “Today” circle. The host has already found another calling through the venture, one of uplifting and responding to the needs of widows and widowers. Kathie Lee Gifford has always found ways to combine music, a message, and humor for personal missions and the next chapter in her life is certain to continue those efforts.

Kathie Lee got to spend time with her “favorite atheist,” Ricky Gervais, on Tuesday this week, and he relished the delight of his last moments with her and what he called “the asylum” as much as ever, leaving Gifford with a warm hug. Her favorite agnostic, Craig Ferguson, is also a close friend who was the muse for the senior love story at the center of “Then Came You.”

Just as Gifford holds a very dear and diverse collection of friends to heart, she urges compassion over judgment to those in the wake of the college admissions scandal. She related that prayer prompts more change for good than judgment. She commended those youth courageous enough to speak out through the ordeal.

It was another morning of laughter through tears and fun for Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, who are bound to share more, but not with America watching.

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