Page Six obtained an internal memo written by NBC News President Noah Oppenheim that was sent to employees Tuesday confirming Hager’s new role.
It read in part, “We have some exciting news to share with you this morning… Jenna will officially start her new role in April after we bid a fond farewell to Kathie Lee Gifford.”
The memo continued, “Jenna joined TODAY nearly ten years ago and she quickly became a fixture in our family. Her compassion and curiosity come through in all of her stories, along with her Texas-sized sense of humor. Jenna instantly connects with everyone she meets, whether they are guests on our show or fans on the Plaza.”
Oppenheim also added that it is “bittersweet to say goodbye to Kathie Lee,” but said the executives are “thrilled to have the opportunity to make some changes at 10 a.m., which will be the “first of many.”
In December, Page Six first reported that Hager, 37, was a strong contender for Gifford’s role. Insiders said the mom of two was always well-liked by NBC chiefs since she began as a correspondent in August 2009.
Hager opened up to People about her new gig, saying, “I’ve been the fill-in which is a fun position to be because there’s no pressure but you could just have a blast. So, to take it to the next level is awe-inducing.”
Kotb, who co-hosted the fourth hour with Gifford, 65, since 2008, told the magazine why Hager would be a natural fit for the job.
“Being around Jenna is like being around the most real person,” Kotb, 54, said. “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!’ She has this thing that’s special.”
She continued, “I know that people try to have it but I think you’re born with it. And Jenna has it and it’s the thing that makes her laugh at herself when she spills coffee on herself. It’s the way that she makes other moms feel good enough because she explains how she’s had the worst day ever and puts it out there.”