'Today' Producers Pressured Hoda Kotb To Feature Daughter Live On Show

May 13 2017, Published 7:28 p.m. ET

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Today producers pressured star Hoda Kotb into having her baby daughter appear on the NBC morning show, a source exclusively told

On Friday's show, Kotb, 52, proudly displayed on camera the little girl she had adopted and named Haley Joy. The surprise adoption had delighted fans of the 52-year-old anchor, who suffered from infertility.

For weeks, the protective new mom had posted photos of Haley without showing her face. But on Friday's Today, just in time for Mother's Day, viewers got to see her 12-week-old in all her glory, as PEOPLE reported.

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Kotb brought little Hayley on camera and cuddled her as fans got a first look at her face.

But there was controversy about this move behind the scenes as "Hoda got pressure from producers at Today show to have her daughter appear live on the show," the source told

"When the baby arrived, everyone that went to visit was asked to not post pictures of her face," the source said. "Pictures Hoda placed on Instagram were carefully taken so you could only see the back of her daughter's head.

"Now after all this careful hiding - she's on the Today Show!"

And as the source noted, "The show adopted a dog to help get ratings and now the entire show has adopted a baby!"

Kotb's baby has provided a rare moment of joy on the morning series, as has reported on the drama of former Fox News star Megyn Kelly joining Today.

Haley, who was born on Valentine's Day, "is the love of my life!" Kotb told her TV sidekick Kathie Lee Gifford.

"Do you know how hard it has been to keep this a secret?" Gifford said on camera.

But the secret – and her daughter's first face reveal – were conveniently both aired first by Today!

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