Jenna Bush Hager is confirmed to succeed Kathie Lee Gifford as Hoda Kotb’s co-host for the fourth hour of NBC’s Today, it was announced on Tuesday morning.
“It feels humbling and I can’t believe it,” Jenna said on the show Tuesday morning.
The Today show contributor and former first daughter will co-host the 10 o’clock hour of the morning show alongside Hoda Kotb beginning in April, when the hour’s longtime fixture Kathie Lee Gifford leaves the show.
She shared with Hoda and Kathie Lee what her father, former President George W. Bush, told her after learning the news.
“My dad just wrote me three words, which made me weep. He said, ‘Very proud dad,’” Jenna said, her voice cracking, before she joked, “Which I’m like, what is there to be proud about? I’m just drinking wine in the morning!”
She then offered kind words to Kathie Lee: “You have been such a role model and so generous with your time. … You are beloved here in so many ways and if I can use some of your grace and have a half of what you’ve done, my life will be a very happy one.”
— Kathie Lee and Hoda (@klgandhoda) February 26, 2019
Her new co-host Kotb, 54, calls Bush Hager “the perfect fit.”
“Being around Jenna is like being around the most real person. 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!’” Kotb tells PEOPLE exclusively. “She has this thing that’s special. 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.”