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The REAL Reason Kathie Lee Left 'Today': Gifford Was Pushed Out!

Dec. 11 2018, Updated 5:19 p.m. ET

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An emotional Kathie Lee Gifford stunned fans when she announced her departure from the Today show this Tuesday morning. But now that the dust has settled, a source has told RadarOnline.com the real reason for her sudden exit.

After having her at NBC for 11 whole years, network execs grew tired of Gifford, 65, and were anxious to the replace her with a younger host, the insider claimed.

"Executives at Today have quietly been looking for a replacement. for Kathie Lee. NBC wants younger viewers, and at 65, she's long in the tooth," the source told Radar this November.

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"They want someone who can be a female counterpart to Craig Melvin, who isn't even 40 yet," the insider added.

In her talk this Tuesday, Gifford admitted it felt "bittersweet" to say goodbye to Today and to her NBC family after so many years together. However, she also added that she had exciting new projects coming her way, and that she only planned to stay at Today for one year when she was initially hired!

Gifford also gushed about longtime co-host Hoda Kotb in her speech, saying she'd be greatly missed. But sources told Radar the two have not been close for a long time now — mostly because Kotb, 54, "doesn't have time" for her former BFF.

"NBC has made it clear how little they care about Kathie Lee and now she's doing the same," said the insider. "She took weeks off to film a movie in Scotland and if something comes up with her kids, she takes the day off."

While Gifford voiced no animosity in her departure speech, her sudden exit comes just weeks after nemesis Megyn Kelly was fired from the show, and months after Matt Lauer was forced to leave due to a string of sexual misconduct claims!

What do you think is the real reason Kathie Lee Gifford left Today? Sound off below.

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