NBC 'begged' Kathie Lee Gifford to remain at 'Today' after Matt Lauer's firing: Details


Kathie Lee Gifford almost left "Today" a year ago.

The daytime television veteran announced on Tuesday that she will be leaving the NBC morning show in April of 2019, but the public announcement comes a year after she had initially planned to exit the show after a decade of hosting the 10 a.m. hour alongside Hoda Kotb.

Gifford revealed to People that she told NBC executives in January of 2017 that she planned on leaving at the end of the year so that she could focus on a variety of other projects, but Matt Lauer's shocking firing following allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace led to an unexpected change of plans.

SEE ALSO: What's next for Kathie Lee Gifford after her 'Today' exit?

"You get to a point in your life where you run out of time to do what you want to do," she said of her career outlook, before noting that "things changed" after Lauer's firing.

"Some things were painful for us," Gifford went on. "And we had to adjust, and they said, 'If we accommodate your schedule, will you consider staying?' I wasn't looking to get out, but I needed the time. So, when they accommodated the schedule, then there was no reason to leave."

"There's no better place in a 50-year career," she added. "It all worked out, so I'm staying."

Sources told Page Six, however, that it wasn't as seamless a decision as Gifford made it seem. In fact, NBC execs reportedly "begged" her to stay following Lauer's scandalous exit -- and amid Megyn Kelly's famously uneasy standing with "Today" and its viewers.

SEE ALSO: Jenna Bush Hager is the 'hot bet' to replace Kathie Lee Gifford

"NBC News brass begged her to stay on for another year because the all-important morning show's lineup was in upheaval, and they wanted to keep as much continuity as possible," the outlet wrote. "The execs signed off on Gifford taking off big chunks of time to make movies and record music, so that she'd stick around."

The former "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee" co-host reportedly nabbed a "sweet deal" to stay on for an eleventh year. Her last day on "Today" will be April 7, 2019, and Jenna Bush Hager is her expected replacement.