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Why Kathie Lee Gifford Decided to Leave ‘Today’ After 11 Years (Exclusive)

Kathie Lee Gifford announced her departure from Today after almost 11 years of hosting alongside Hoda Kotb on Tuesday, December 11. The news came to a shock to millions of fans across the nation who watched her in the NBC morning show’s fourth hour for over a decade, and now Us Weekly can exclusively reveal why she chose to leave.

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“Kathie Lee was just tired. She’s been doing the same morning show routine for decades,” a source told Us on Tuesday. “Before Today, she was live with Regis [Philbin] for 15 years. She’s ready to try something new! She’s excited to take on a new stage in her career and throw herself into new challenges.”

The insider adds that the 65-year-old “will still be a part of the NBC family” and her colleagues wish her nothing but the best in the future. The source explains, “I’m sure you will still see her on the air from time to time. Everyone is excited for Kathie Lee’s new adventure and wish her well.”

Why Kathie Lee Gifford Decided to Leave ‘Today’ After 11 Years
Kathie Lee Gifford on an episode of ‘Today’ on February 21, 2018 in New York City. Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Us obtained a copy of a memo written by NBC News chief Noah Oppenheim in which he reiterated the claim that Gifford is leaving to pursue other projects.

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“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,” Oppenheim wrote.

He also explained that the host will continue working through April 7 and plans for the future will be announced “before then.”

Oppenheim added, “Please join me in congratulating Kathie Lee on a dazzling run at Today. We look forward to celebrating her in the months to come.”

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Gifford personally announced her departure to viewers on Tuesday, saying while she was on air, “It’s an exciting time for me, and I’m thrilled about the projects coming up, but it’s also hard is because the reason I stayed longer than a year is because I love everybody here. I have been in this business 120 years and never worked with a more beautiful group of people who just give, give, give every day, four hours of live television five days a week.”

With reporting by Jennifer Peros

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