Jenna Bush Hager will replace Kathie Lee Gifford on 'Today's fourth hour with Hoda Kotb

Kathie Lee Gifford's "Today" chair will be filled by someone fans already know and love: Jenna Bush Hager will co-host the NBC show's fourth hour with Hoda Kotb, execs confirmed Tuesday.

Hager, 37, has been with "Today" for nearly as long as Gifford. She joined the show as a contributor in 2009, just one year after Gifford settled into her spot, and gradually ascended to become a prominent fixture of the daily broadcast.

Hager told People she's "so excited, I can't believe it ... It just feels like the right time for me."

Many within the "Today" family expected the former first daughter to succeed Gifford: "She is a favorite among viewers and staffers, and she has already filled in for Kathie Lee every time she's been away."

26 PHOTOS
Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb together
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Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb together
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Thursday, January 24, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Thursday, January 17, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager and Maria Shriver on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Jenna Bush Hager, Hoda Kotb and Keri Glassman on Monday, January 21, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Thursday, January 17, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Harlem Globetrotters with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Thursday, January 10, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager and Neil Patrick Harris on Thursday, January 10, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 09: Jenna Bush, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker are seen on January 09, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager and LeAnn Rimes on Friday, November 9, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Friday, November 9, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Friday, November 9, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Jenna Bush Hager, Hoda Kotb, Jennifer Hartstein and Jeff Gardere on Monday, October 29, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Tuesday, October 15, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Friday, September 14, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Friday, August 24, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Thursday, August 23, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Friday, July 27, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager and Hilaria Baldwin on Friday, July 27, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Friday, June 1, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb on Thursday, April 26, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Thursday, January 31, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Friday, January 5, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford. Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Friday, October 6, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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Kotb had nothing but positive words to say about her soon-to-be co-host.

"Being around Jenna is like being around the most real person," Kotb told People. "She says exactly what she thinks and believes, and there's something about her that makes you do two things: You lean in because you want to know more, and also you kind of weirdly tell her your secrets, and you're like, 'Oh my God, I just blurted all that out!'"

NBC News president Noah Oppenheim told staffers that the show is "evolving" and that more changes and surprises are ahead in the coming months.

Gifford revealed in December that after more than a decade on "Today," she's ready to step away and pursue her own projects. Her final day on the show will be April 5, her 11-year anniversary on the show.

29 PHOTOS
Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford together
See Gallery
Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford together
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Friday, November 16, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Howie Mandel on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Friday, November 23, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Donna Farizan on Friday, November 16, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Thursday, October 12, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Billie Jean King on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Dylan Dreyer, Jenna Bush Hager, Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Al Roker on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Monday, September 5, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Kathie Lee Gifford, Lionel Richie and Hoda Kotb on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Thursday, Aug.10, 2017 -- (Photo by: Zach Pagano/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: Hoda Kotb (L) and Kathie Lee Gifford (R) are seen on July 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by VMAL/Star Max/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: (L-R) TV personalities Sheinelle Jones, Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford attend the 'DUNKIRK' New York premiere at AMC Lincoln Square IMAX on July 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Monday, June 23, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07: Hoda Kotb (L) and Kathie Lee Gifford attend the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford attend the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images For CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07: (L-R) Hoda Kotb,Jason Derulo, Luke Bryan and Kathie Lee Gifford backstage during the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Monday, June 5, 2017 -- (Photo by: Zach Pagano/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford attend the 2017 Matrix Awards at Sheraton New York Times Square on April 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb And Kathie Lee Gifford on the Today Show. Wednesday, April 19, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford appear to celebrate the BELLA New York Holiday Issue Cover Party and Holiday Shopping Event on December 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
NBCUNIVERSAL UPFRONT -- '2016 NBCUniversal Upfront in New York City on Monday, May 16, 2016' -- Pictured: (l-r) Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, 'The Today Show' on NBC -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: (L) Kathie Lee Gifford dressed as her former co-host Regis Philbin, and Hoda Kotb, dressed as Kathie Lee Gifford from the morning talk show, 'Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee,' during NBC's 'Today' Halloween at Rockefeller Plaza on October 31, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: TV personalities Hoda Kotb (L) and Kathie Lee Gifford attend the Variety's Power Of Women: New York 2016 at Cipriani Midtown on April 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Kathie Lee Gifford, Jennifer Lopez, and Hoda Kotb appear on the 'Today' show on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Friday, November 23, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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