Jenna Bush Hager Announced To Replace Kathie Lee Gifford—Stepping In As Today Co-Host
Hoda Kotb has a new co-host during the fourth hour of NBC’s morning news show Today. The latest addition to the show was announced Tuesday, during the 10 am slot of the show, and is the former President George W Bush’s daughter—Jeanna Bush Hager.
Hager will serve as the replacement for Kathie Lee Gifford, who previously announced that she intended to step down from her hosting duties in April. Hager is no stranger the NBC News franchise, as she has filled in for both Gifford and Kotb multiple times. Hager has been with NBC News, as a correspondent, since 2009.
The replacement announcement came as no surprise. The Today franchise continues to outshine ABC’s Good Morning America, in the 25-54 demographic, which is critical to maintaining advertisers. Hager's co-hosting job came quickly on the heels of another announcement by NBC executives, made several weeks ago that Al Roker, Dylan Dreyer, Craig Melvin, and Sheinelle Jones would take the positions of the permanent third-hour slot of Today, which was initially held by Megyn Kelly Today. As many may recall, Kelly left the NBC network, last December, in what ended up being a long and drawn out event.
The network issued a release about the announcement, stating that although saying goodbye to Kathie Lee would be bittersweet, they were thrilled for the opportunity to make some new changes to 10 am. And that hiring in Hager was just one of those changes. The statement went on to inform that the network would have more announcements coming in the future months.
Although NBC still has a firm hold on its crucial demographics, many have more than once mentioned that their protracted battles with Megyn Kelly didn't help the public perception of the network. There are those that speculate that the fallout is far from over and that NBC will have to continue to keep their eyes open and head off any other problems that may result from the incident.
However, the choice of replacement for Kathie Lee is widely thought of as a logical choice, factoring in that Hager can take over the reins and hit the ground running. Her previous appearances on the Today Show have given her the advantage of going into the co-hosting job, without the encumbrance of any type due to learning the ropes and developing a rapport with her fellow hosts.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Will the addition of Jenna Bush Hager indeed help NBC move on after Kathie Lee?