Kathie Lee Gifford Tearfully Says Goodbye to Hoda Kotb and Today

The longtime co-anchor bid farewell to her job on her final day at NBC.

By Samantha Schnurr Apr 05, 2019 3:13 PMTags

Kathie Lee Gifford has said goodbye. 

After a week of celebrating the iconic TV personality, Today gave the longtime co-host a one-of-a-kind send-off on Friday. In front of a live audience, Gifford and her co-host Hoda Kotb spent their final hour as colleagues as they commemorated Gifford the best way they know how: with bubbly, beloved friends and a sweet message from Regis Philbin

"I will always remember the great times we had working together and how you are as a person—just great," her former TV partner said in a video tribute. 

Of course, he wasn't the only familiar face to make an appearance during Gifford's final show. Flo Rida introduced the host of honor with a musical performance and Rita Wilson and Gifford's son, Cody Gifford, could be seen in the crowd. John Cena later showed up to host a game of trivia, revealing that approximately 5,300 glasses of wine have been poured during their time on the show. 

Kathie Lee Gifford's Wackiest Today Show Moments

Broadway celebrated Gifford with a sign at the Nederlander Theater and Gifford even revealed Howard Stern sent her a bouquet of roses in honor of her final week. "That man hated my guts for 30 years and I prayed for him every single day," she told the audience. 

With a bartender and DJ in the room, it was sure to be a party not only for the two hosts, but also for their guests. The celebration featured an exciting Carnival Cruise giveaway to not one, but every attendee in honor of Gifford's longtime work with the cruise line. 


Surprise guest Barry Manilow serenaded Gifford and the audience with "Can't Smile Without You"—until she jumped in to harmonize along with him. And, before the show was over, Gifford's son and daughter Cassidy Gifford appeared in a video tribute to their famous mom, which sparked tears from the star. 

As the grand finale, Gifford was joined by her NBC colleagues, including Al RokerCarson Daly and Jenna Bush Hager, to toast her farewell. 

"I have 30 seconds to say what has taken me a lifetime to say. Jeremiah 29 says, 'I know the plans I have you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope," she quoted. "That's not just true for me, you guys, that's true for everybody watching. Trust him. Let him love you like he wants to love you, like I am loved by all of you."


Watch: Kathie Lee Gifford Cries Announcing "Today Show" Exit

The world first learned of Gifford's departure in early December 2018, when she announced the news on her and Kotb's fourth hour of Today

"I have something to share with everybody, and it's bittersweet, as these things always are," Gifford began at the time. "I've been here almost 11 years—thought I would stay here one year. Something happened along the way: I fell in love with a beautiful Egyptian goddess. And now, when it's our 11th anniversary I'm going to be leaving the Today show."

"I know. It's an exciting time for me and I'm thrilled about all the projects that are coming up," she continued. "But it's also hard, because the reason I stayed longer than a year is because I love everybody so much."

In February, Hager was confirmed as her replacement. "You're gonna sit next to the best person in the whole world who will always have—because she has your back, she has your heart," Gifford told Hager of Kotb. "You guys are gonna have a ball." 

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