Although Kotb cried crocodile tears when Gifford announced her departure, sources said she was secretly steamed at having to sit with her cohost until she officially leaves in April and wants a clean break.
“Hoda is over buddying up with Kathie Lee, as well as the whole format of the show,” said a source, who noted that a few days after Gifford’s announcement, Kotb went to the honchos and complained.
“It’s caused a huge panic at NBC, as they can’t lose all of their most famous faces in just a few months,” said the source. “At the very least, Hoda wants to give up the fourth hour of Today, and they’re scrambling to find a way to make her stay.”
Kotb, 54, and Gifford, 65, began co-hosting the fourth hour of Today together in April 2008 and grew as close as sisters.
But they drifted apart after Kotb started dating businessman Joel Schiffman and adopted daughter Haley Joy.
Then Kotb was officially named co-host of the first two hours of Today after Matt Lauer was booted in a sleazy sex scandal, insiders said.
Now, according to sources, Kotb has stopped lunching with Gifford, and the two women no longer socialize.
Insiders said Kotb, who started out as a correspondent on Dateline in 1998, likes her job and the network’s feeling is mutual. But she’s also started to feel as if she belongs to a light entertainment club, swilling wine with Gifford.
“Internally at NBC News, Kathie Lee will not be missed,” an insider revealed.
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