This Tuesday, April 2, on "Today," didn't turn too teary-eyed too early for Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on their last official “Boozday Tuesday” as the ladies dub the day, not wanting to push the censors too hard. After some mentions of Hoda’s favorite Country Music singer, Blake Shelton, and his team acquisitions on “The Voice,” the topic became serious, with a discussion of Equal Pay Day. Kathie Lee teased that her broadcasting partner for the last 11 years was bringing home enough to compensate for many shortchanged women from past years.

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Kotb related how she hesitated to stick up for herself and detail her contributions to the network, even in relatively recent years, never wanting to seem ungrateful.

Kathie Lee Gifford brought one of her defenders as her guest for the day, her attorney and his wife, playfully reminding that “I'm out of a job in a few days.” “I've got you,” came his assuring reply. Gifford also gave gratitude to her first manager, with whom she remains close to this day.

Kathie Lee Gifford's co-anchors credit her gift for making great TV from little moments on Today. [Image source:TODAY-YouTube]
Kathie Lee Gifford's co-anchors credit her gift for making great TV from little moments on Today. [Image source:TODAY-YouTube]

Gifford was overjoyed to share more than a few seconds of the song, “The God Who Sees” featuring Nicole C Mullen, slated for digital release later today. There were many fond recollections of Kathie Lee Gifford’s best advice and examples from her co-anchors and an unexpectedly touching toast from the generally never-serious Chuck Nice and his buddies from Kathie Lee's last “Guys Tell All.”

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As part of Kathie Lee Gifford's parting gift from NBC, each of her co-anchors was asked to describe the singer-dancer, songwriter and all-around show business star and words like “funny” and “hilarious” came first, but then “risk-taker,” “friend” and “trailblazer” started to arise.

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Hoda Kotb has already credited her sidekick as having the most “incredible timing” and daring of anyone in the industry. Incoming fourth-hour co-host, Jenna Bush Hager, is on a family vacation but shared how Kathie Lee asked her mother, first lady Laura Bush, about sharing bras with her daughter on the air. She graciously replied that her daughter had the greater endowment, so they fit well. Savannah Guthrie reiterated that “what happens in the makeup trailer stays in the makeup trailer,” until Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb talk about it on live TV.

Guthrie admires the Gifford ability to “turn a nothing moment into great TV,” but even more, the gift of “a touch on the elbow, a squeeze of the hand-- to have Kathie Lee praying for you, caring for you is really a special feeling.”

Sheinelle Jones remembered being nervous about “drinking wine before 11 in the morning,” until Gifford’s openness encouraged her to go for it and be her authentic self on camera. More than anything, the beloved morning host has made those sharing her world comfortable with being themselves and bringing their spirit out at its best, which is hard to do in a full hour of a daily live broadcast.

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“She is who she is, and she does that better than anyone else,” Al Roker praised. The young parents of “Today” appreciate her interest and caring in their own lives, and the “leadership and faith” of her example. She is leaving as a host but will have many opportunities to return through the doors of the Rockefeller Center studios as a guest, with a lot less to worry about.

Not the usual guy talk

Ghostbusters” and “Bridesmaids” director and producer, Paul Feig, trotted out champagne, chocolates, and his own original poem for Kathie Lee, proclaiming that the “Today” fourth hour “will never be the same.”

KLG and Hoda didn’t have much luck at proving how well they knew little things about each other, but they did show that heart is what matters most, with messiness and neatness being pet peeves of the partners.

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Pairings of Tracey Gold and Kirk Cameron from “Growing Pains” and Candace Cameron Bure and Jodie Sweetin from “Full House” and “Fuller House” scored somewhat higher, and fun was had by all.

One of the most surprising and touching tributes of the morning came completely by surprise. As a general rule, the “Guys Tell All” segment balances between being a little serious and mostly bawdy, with comedian Chuck Nice doing most of the crack-ups. The mood was different for Kathie Lee Gifford's final time talking with the fellas.

The snarky funnyman opened with Scripture, starting with Matthew 5:14 and its reference from Christ that light should always have a lampstand, never to be hidden, but instead, be seen like a “shining city on a hill.” He commended Kathie Lee for the light that she brings to her work, and to all those around her. Each of the male counterparts toasted her humor and joy alongside that inner faith. Her eyes welled with tears, and she turned to Hoda, foreheads touching, away from the camera.

It was another morning keepsake of this week to remember, with just three days to go.

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