Building a successful on-screen partnership that can stand the test of time and still draw in viewers is no mean feat in the world on morning television.
But after a decade together, Kathie Lee Gifford, 64, and Hoda Kotb, 53, have cracked the code, and toasted ten years of hosting the fourth hour of NBC’s Today show in the best way they know how – surrounding by friends and family, and of course, lots of wine.
However Hoda was noticeably absent from the duo’s segment the following morning; although the mother-of-one joined her Today co-hosts for the first two hours of the show – on which she serves as co-anchor alongside Savannah Guthrie, 46 – she was replaced by correspondent Jenna Bush Hager for the final hour.
Cheers! Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb celebrated ten years of their Today Show slot at a glitzy bash at New York’s Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center Wednesday night
Toasting to the future: Currently the longest-running female duo on TV, Kathie Lee and Hoda have occupied the fourth hour of the Today Show since 2008
Filling in: Although Jenna Bush Hager couldn’t make the party last night, she filled in for Hoda on this morning’s show
New gig: Hoda did make it in bright and early for her 7-9am slot alongside Savannah Guthrie
In a post shared on the official Instagram account for Hoda and Kathie Lee’s show, it was revealed that the co-host was ‘enjoying a little break’ from the segment ahead of the pair’s special tenth anniversary show, which will air on Friday morning at 10am.
Ahead of that on-air celebration, however, the pair – who are currently the longest-running female duo on TV – honored their successes with a fun-filled bash, taking to the red carpet in true style, with Hoda sporting a knee-length white halter dress, while Kathie Lee showed off her legs in an embellished black playsuit.
Hoda and Kathie Lee were joined by their Today show colleagues at the Rainbow Room at New York’s Rockefeller Center, raising a glass to their ten-year milestone alongside Savannah Guthrie, Megyn Kelly, Craig Melvin, Dylan Dreyer, Sheinelle Jones, Carson Daly and Willie Geist.
And despite rumored tensions between Kelly and her NBC co-stars, the network’s newest recruit appeared totally at east among her fellow anchors, joining them at the party and even posing for group photos on the red carpet and in the photo booth.
Notably absent, however, was former First Daughter Jenna, 36, who joined the Today show as a correspondent in 2009 and frequently fills in for either Kathie Lee or Hoda when they need to take a day off from the show.
Family: They were joined by their Today show colleagues Craig Melvin, Dylan Dreyer, Sheinelle Jones, Savannah Guthrie, Carson Daly and Willie Geist
Support: Savannah Guthrie and Megyn Kelly showed their support for the colleagues but notably absent was Jenna Bush who joined the show as a correspondent in 2009
Party time: Inside the party, the festivities continued with Hoda posting several candid shots on her Instagram account with the hashtag #toastto10
Posers: Guests also took to a photo booth at the event, pictured l-r Dylan Dreyer, Craig Melvin, Sheinelle Jones and Carson Daly with Kathie Lee and Hoda
And she was ready to do just that on Thursday morning, filling in for Hoda who has also been co-anchoring the first two hours of Today alongside Savannah since Matt Lauer’s shock exit in November 2017 amid numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.
While Hoda was initially brought in as a temporary replacement, in January the network announced she would permanently replace the disgraced 59-year-old.
Hoda also took on the role of mom in 2017, adopting baby girl Haley Joy with long-time partner Joel Schiffman.
The couple have been together since 2013.
However, last night was all about her partnership with Kathie Lee – a pairing that very nearly didn’t happen.
Speaking to Page Six at the event, Kathie Lee admitted that she initially told producers she would rather ‘rip my toenails out than have to do that’, as she thought the show was too ‘boring’.
‘There was Ann Curry – lovely woman – with five white shirts on those form things [mannequins], and she and an expert were discussing which white shirt holds up best in the wash,’ she explained.
Happy family: Kathie Lee and Hoda posing with their crew
United front: Dylan Dreyer, Craig Melvin, Sheinelle Jones, Carson Daly, Kathie Lee and Hoda were also joined by Megyn Kelly in the photo booth at the event
Woman power: Hoda and Kathie Lee pictued with Tammy Filler, executive producer their show
‘I wanted to kill myself by the third shirt.’
A sentiment Hoda agreed with: ‘When this show started out, it was Ann Curry, Natalie Morales and me. And the show was a little bit of a snooze. Everybody knows that’s the case.’
However, when the two met for lunch, their instant chemistry resulted in a two and a half hour meeting that convinced Kathie Lee to agreed to the job.
‘Our fans turn us on in the morning as an antidote for so much of what is going on in the world today,’ Gifford told People.
‘They want to laugh, they’ve gotten all of the bad news they can stomach, they are ready to laugh and to be reminded that there’s goodness left in the world and it’s okay to laugh and make fun of yourself and it’s okay to listen to fart sounds.’
Kathie Lee and Hoda’s 10th anniversary special airs Friday, April 6 on NBC.