NBC bids farewell to Kathie Lee Gifford

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NBC News sent off Kathie Lee Gifford in style Friday, April 5, 2019.

  • Co-host Hoda Kotb then kicked off the show with Flo Rida.
  • A VIP section of the audience included Gifford’s friends and family.
  • The show also paid tribute to Gifford’s classic Carnival Cruise commercial — before giving away a cruise to everyone in the audience.

  • Next up was a taped message from Gifford’s former co-host Regis Philbin and a preview of the movie Gifford wrote and stars in, “Along Came You.”
  • WWE wrestler John Cena then hosted a “game show” between the pair with trivia from the show’s history.
  • Al Roker then joined the show to introduce two surprise guests wearing large animal mascot costume heads — Dean Cain and Ryan Ryan Eggold.

  • This was followed by another surprise guest — Barry Manilow, who also performed as part of the “Today” concert series.
  • Both Manilow and Flo Rida’s performances included customized lyrics of popular songs.
  • Gifford then announced she will be working on a film based on Jimmy Wayne’s book “Walk to Beautiful.”
  • A final surprise was a package featuring Gifford’s children, Cody and Cassidy.
  • The show then brought out members of the “Today” on air team, including Jenna Bush Hager, who will take over for Gifford Monday, April 8, though Savannah Guthrie was notably missing, despite hosting “Today” earlier that day.
  • Crew and behind the scenes staff also came out on set.
  • Gifford then ended the show by quoting Jeremiah 29 from the Bible before the show cut to the NBC News vanity card.