Kathie Lee Gifford really is her former Today co-host's biggest fan!
The former anchor commended Hoda Kotb for her commitment to the Today show in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, telling In the Room's Jason Kennedy that she should be a shoo-in for (another!) Daytime Emmy.
"I was FaceTiming with Hoda just the other morning around 6 in the morning; She hadn't gone on air yet," Kathie explained. "She's the only person in Studio 1A. And then she turns it around and it's on Anthony, one of my favorite cameramen. And he had COVID really bad. And my heart just lept that he was good, he was fine, he was healthy and he was back at work."
Kathie, however, said she couldn't imagine being back in the nearly empty studio since she was used to seeing it buzzed "with excitement and people and energy and just life."
"Hoda decided to be there in the studio. And if they don't give her a doggone Emmy from what she's done..." Kathie told Jason. "Nobody's ever deserved it more than that woman deserves it this past six weeks."
Since Kathie's departure from the Today show in April 2019—one that came after 11 years of working there—Kathie admitted that she's missed it at times, but she knew it was the right time to leave when she did.
"I don't have the schedule I once had," she said. "I don't have to get up every morning and get in a car and drive that whatever it was every day into New York City—which only got harder and harder to do because the same potholes I've been paying taxes over for 40 years are still there."
She continued, explaining that she believed New York City had changed.
"And I just couldn't take the culture any longer, actually. Not the people. There were wonderful people who live there," Kathie added. "But the culture has declined. The culture's gotten meaner. The culture doesn't allow you to speak to one another with dignity and respect anymore. Everybody yells at one another."
Kathie's departure from the Today show was also made easier by the fact that she "never wanted to be on television" in the first place.
"I know people go, 'How could you leave your dream job?' And I go, 'I never said it was my dream job!'" she said. "I wanted to be a singer and an actress all my life. There were no female talk show hosts."
Kathie is certainly living out her dream now. She caught Jason up on all of her projects currently in the works, from a movie she starred in to a book she wrote.
"I'm producing with my son, Cody, certain movies. I was just on the phone yesterday with Roma Downey—we're producing something together," Kathie said. "I'm doing another movie for Hallmark. Writing these oratorios that I believe are bringing the bible stories to life for people who think that the bible has no relevance. It's the most relevant book ever written and more so than ever today when you understand it in its original source material, its original context; what it actually says, not what bad translations say."
Watch more of Kathie's conversation with Jason in the above clip!