Could Jenna Bush Hager be Kathie Lee Gifford’s replacement?

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With Kathie Lee Gifford leaving the fourth hour of “Today” in April 2019, NBC has some big shoes to fill.

  • During her on air announcement, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, Gifford indicated she apparently has someone in mind to fill her spot — and could that person be Jenna Bush Hager?
  • Some suspected Hager is that person given her regular role as a fill-in on the show.
  • Her political ideology, though mostly believed to be independent, unlike her more conservative father and late grandfather, still could be a good match to Gifford, who is a self proclaimed born again Christian.
  • The topic of faith and God often comes up on the show, including during Gifford’s tearful announcement Monday, and it’s not something the Kotb necessarily avoids.

Deciding on a replacement is a tough call but here’s some scenarios:

  • Hager, who regularly fills in for Gifford and Kotb on the fourth hour as well as appearing on “Today Third Hour” that replaced the canceled “Megyn Kelly Today,” is already a familiar face to viewers, so having her slide into Gifford’s seat makes a certain amount of sense.
  • However, Hager can be a polarizing personality for some. Not only does her connection to the Bush family ruffle some feathers, but some question her skills as on an air broadcaster.
  • Hager was hired a “special correspondent” for NBC News — and the network followed that up by hiring fellow former first daughter Chelsea Clinton.
  • While she tends to be a bit better with non-scripted segments, there are times when it appears she hasn’t quite mastered reading off a teleprompter.
  • She has little experience covering breaking news, though if major breaking stories develop during the four hour, often NBC cover it with a special report handled by a more experience anchor.
  • It’s also possible that Kotb might be wanting off the fourth hour — she’s already hosting two of the most grueling hours in TV news — a job that requires the ability to glow on camera, deliver both hard and light news and spend hours in production meetings and reviewing materials about guests and topics.
  • In that case, NBC could revamp the entire fourth hour — with or without Hager.