Kathie Lee Gifford has made such a lasting impact on “Today,” and morning television as a whole, that no host will ever approach her level, her honesty, or her fearless comic timing. There is a reason why broadcast buddies like Hoda Kotb and Regis Philbin sing Kathie Lee Gifford's praises for being both a professional entertainer and a priceless friend. Kotb credits Kathie Lee for being the start of “everything good in my life,” as she detailed through Gifford’s April farewell.

The “Today” anchor and mom (still on maternity leave with her second adopted daughter, Hope Catherine) was convinced to take the job on the fourth-hour slot because of Frank Gifford.

Hoda Kotb is currently part of the genuine “baby boom” that the “Today” family is celebrating. Jenna Bush Hager and her family are savoring the moments with baby son, Hal. Third-hour host and meteorologist, Dylan Dreyer, will welcome another son in January, with husband, Brian Fichera, and who knows what other little ones will be announced in the next few months.

When the idea of a fourth-hour extension of “Today” was born, no two women had ever tried doing what Kathie Lee and Hoda did for 11 years. Frank Gifford encouraged his wife to try it out just for a year, and he assured Hoda Kotb that she couldn't have a better on-air partner.

The rest is history, as they say, and last April, Hoda and “Today” gave Kathie Lee Gifford a rich “Queen's Jubilee” sendoff, per Kotb’s description.

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Kathie Lee has called Nashville her home in the months since, and she remembered her late husband in a moving tribute, as noted by “Today” in August 9 feature. The host is also sharing the fun with new friends, one of whom is a gentleman in insurance.

Never forgotten

Fervent fans will recall the stalwart support given from Hoda Kotb and others in Kathie Lee Gifford’s close circle of friends when Frank Gifford passed away four years ago.

Kathie Lee describes that “God took this beautiful, wonderful husband and father to his real home,” in her Instagram post today. She poignantly adds the Hebrew phrase, BET AV, denoting “The Father’s House.” The tribute continues with the assurance that “we will hold him again,” despite missing him on earth every day.

Kathie Lee Gifford detailed the deep connections that she and Frank Gifford developed to the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith in her book, “The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi,” published in 2018.

Frank Gifford’s appreciation for the Hebraic perspectives grew after a mountaintop teaching from the book’s co-author, Rabbi Jason Sobel.

Gifford wanted to do more than simply honor Frank’s memory and faith, she wanted to comfort others in bereavement with the assurance and peace of life after death with the salvation of a loving God. In 2017, her song “He Saw Jesus,” written with Brett James, brought Kathie Lee back to the “Today” stage and back to her love of music in a very real sense.

She continued working with James on music and scoring for her love story, “Then Came You,” in which she co-stars with a real-life good friend, Craig Ferguson, portraying a woman who finds her second chance at forever love after being widowed.

More loving words were offered from Frank and Kathie Lee's daughter, Cassidy, 26, who captioned another portrait of herself and her father with, “To have lost you means to have gotten you. And it was the best.”

Never too many friends

One of the reasons why Kathie Lee Gifford was so drawn to Nashville, beyond its innate musical ties to history, and friends like Reba McEntire, was that the bustling community and its people “love wine, love music, and love Jesus” as the host paraphrased before departing “Today.” She also related to Kotb during a Sirius interview that it was refreshing to be away from the mood of cynicism that can circulate in huge cities.

Gifford has grown her circle of friends in Music City and even been willing to share a few photos on social media. One of those new friends is Randy Cronk, an insurance executive originally from Ohio. The two have been spending some time together according to Your Tango on August 6.

Nothing has been confirmed about anything becoming serious, but Kathie Lee was candid about being open to love again, saying that God could bring another love of her life whenever the time was right, and her children are supportive of seeing their 65-year-old mother make new memories.

Kathie Lee Gifford knows from her decades has a performer that the second act is generally always the best in any production. Here's hoping her second act has friendships and love to remember in the script.

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