Kathie Lee Gifford wanted to get off the "Today" show a year ago, Page Six learned.
Sources tell us that Gifford – who announced on Tuesday that he leaves the NBC show after eleven years – went to executives in autumn 2017 she said she was ready to quit.
But network insiders tell us that NBC News Brass had asked them to stay another year because the all-important morning show was in turmoil and they wanted it to stay as much continuity as possible.
The executive even signed that Gifford took big blocks of time to make films and record music so she would stay.
When Gifford initially claimed her resignation from her bosses, Matt, Lauer had just been taken out of the "Today" show with alleged sexual misconduct. Megyn Kelly's stormy hour sent shock waves through the franchise, and at the same time fans still felt the absence of the popular Tamron Hall.
We've been told that Gifford has offered a good deal to stay for an eleventh-year co. The beloved, wine-busting fourth hour of "Today" with Hoda Kotb. On Tuesday, Gifford announced in the air that she would go to focus on her film career.
Meanwhile, the sources say Page Six Jenna Bush Hager is the hot favorite for Gifford.
Hager is equally popular with viewers and NBC News chiefs, it is said, and is expected to enter Gifford's role when she leaves on her eleventh anniversary in April 201
After saying goodbye to the show on Tuesday morning Gifford said, "I know that someone who is wonderful will sit in that place afterwards." And: "I have my idea who could be absolutely wonderful."
Hager was a frequent presence on the show, along with Kotb in the summer when Gifford was in Scotland and made a film she also wrote.