Hoda Kotb says her 50s are some of the best years of her life. Actually, scratch that.
“Not some of them,” she exclusively told Us Weekly at NBC Studios in New York City on Monday, February 3. “The best years of my life are right now.”
In the past three years, the 55-year-old has adopted daughters Haley Joy and Hope Catherine, gotten engaged to financier Joel Schiffman and become permanent co-anchor of Today alongside Savannah Guthrie.
Plus, on Thursday, February 6, Kotb and cohost Jenna Bush Hager are introducing a new fourth hour of the NBC morning show as Today With Hoda & Jenna morphs into Hoda & Jenna & Friends, complete with a live studio audience.
“Dreams don’t always get fulfilled, OK?” the journalist continued, with tears in her eyes. “They just don’t. And that’s OK. I’ve had plenty of them. But I just can’t believe they’re happening now. I can’t believe it.”
“So, anyway. I wish there was wine in here,” she quipped, examining the Hoda & Jenna mug on the table in front of her. “There’s nothing in here!”
The rebranded show is launching with a new set. “If you’ve ever rented a new apartment or got a new house, and you put the key in the door and walked in and went, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ that’s what this feels like for us professionally,” Kotb told Us.
Kotb also believes Today fans are embracing the new era of the long-running show. “I mean, what’s funny is, there is such a connection, and it’s so crazy because I remember watching it and being connected to the show so much. Like, you wanted to know more about Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel. Like, you wanted to know about [Katie Couric’s] kids. You know, you wanted to know all that stuff. And I feel like the audience has kind of this special bond with people on the show, and I feel honored to be sitting in the chair even just for a minute.”
She went on: “But I do think they’ve come along for the ride. I mean, look how they respond to Jenna. Just walk down Fifth Avenue with Jenna Bush Hager, I double dog dare you. And if you don’t get mobbed in one second, I mean, then it’s … just not a great day. But Jenna has got that thing. So I think that the audience has evolved, and they accept new people if they’re the right people.”
Hoda & Jenna & Friends premieres on NBC Thursday, February 6, at 10 a.m. ET.
With reporting by Marc Lupo
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