Kathie Lee Gifford wasn’t planning on waking up with the country every weekday at the age of 62. The actress told DuJour magazine that she was shocked when NBC asked her to return to TV at age 55 in 2008.
“I was actively pursuing not coming back to TV,” the former Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee cohost explained. “I thought that I had done the best 15 years of television I could possibly do with Regis — we changed the face of daytime television and we became a phenomenon at the time — and when I left in 2000, it was to follow interests I hadn’t had the time for.”
According to DuJour, one day in 2008, the TV personality’s lunch was interrupted by Today anchor Natalie Morales, producer Amy Rosenblum and then-Dateline correspondent Hoda Kotb, who all begged her to join the Today show. After she made a one-day appearance, NBC asked her back the next day.
“I said, ‘I can’t, but call me another time,’ and a couple of months went by and NBC started calling me for meetings,” Gifford recalled. “I was flattered and deeply grateful, but I was 55 at the time and I just thought, ‘Wow, how times have changed. Somebody was interested in a post-menopausal woman — and a has-been at that.’”
But return to TV she did, and the Emmy-nominated TV personality has co-anchored Today’s fourth hour with Kotb since 2008.
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