Kathy Lee Gifford leaving ‘TODAY’

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Television icon Kathie Lee Gifford will bid farewell to NBC’s “Today” show next April.

“As we all know, Kathie Lee’s plate has been overflowing lately with film, music and book projects, and after giving us eleven extraordinary years, she’s decided to focus her attention full-time on those other creative endeavors,” NBC News President Noah Oppenheim wrote in an internal memo Tuesday morning.

Oppenheim called her a “legend” for her “enduring and endearing talents in morning television.”

From 1985 until 2000, Gifford co-hosted “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee.” In 2008, she became Hoda Kotb’s co-host on the 10 a.m. hour of “Today.”

In the television world, the hour is known for funny conversations, celebrity guests and free-flowing wine. Gifford and Kotb are beloved by millions of viewers.

Oppenheim said the network would share its plans for the future of the 10 a.m. hour before Gifford’s final show in April. The hour “will, of course, continue to include Hoda,” he said.

“I have something to share with everybody,” Gifford said at the start of Tuesday’s show. “It’s bittersweet, as these things always are. But, I’ve been here almost 11 years. Thought I would stay one year. Something happened along the way: I fell in love with a beautiful Egyptian goddess.” That’s one of her loving nicknames for Kotb.

“And now, when it’s our 11th anniversary, I’m going to be leaving the ‘Today’ show,” Gifford said. “It’s an exciting time for me, and I’m thrilled about all the projects that are coming up. But it’s also hard, because the reason I stayed longer than a year is because I love everybody here so much.”

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