Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Hoda Kotb leaves Today studios behind – and her replacement anchor has a lot to say

The Today Show anchor jetted off with her "bestie"

TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb on Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
10 April 2024
Share this:

Hoda Kotb's absence on the Today Show the morning of April 10 was one some fans may have seen coming, given that news of her departure was announced quite early on.

On Wednesday morning, the 59-year-old NBC News anchor was absent from her usual spot in Studio 1A at Rockefeller Plaza, and even the Fourth Hour, aka Today with Hoda and Jenna, featured a previously recorded episode.

Savannah Guthrie was joined instead by Craig Melvin, and the two stated at the top of the day that Hoda was "on assignment," specifically using air quotes.

Craig Melvin stepped in to sub Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday's Today Show© Getty Images
Savannah and Craig joked that Hoda had gone to New Orleans for "booze, beignets, on Bourbon Street"

However, the playful hosts and friends added: "She's down in New Orleans with her bestie Jenna [Bush Hager], they're celebrating five years of their show."

Anniversary celebrations for the fifth year of their Fourth Hour show kicked off earlier this week, with the two anchors taking off for the Louisiana city for a two-day special, which will begin airing tomorrow, April 11.

Craig even joked in response: "As someone put it a few minutes ago, 'beignets' and 'booze'...on 'Bourbon Street'," which Savannah called the "3 B's" for their trip.

It was announced earlier in March that Hoda and Jenna will take their show to "one of their favorite cities," where they've hosted episodes of their talk show in the past as well. 

Two shows will be broadcast from the New Orleans Jazz Museum in the French Quarter, starting Thursday morning at 10 AM ET. They will also be kicking off the city's French Quarter Festival with The Original Pinettes Brass Band and spotlight several local attractions and artisans, as per a press release.

MORE: Hoda Kotb makes rare comment about relationship with ex-fiancé Joel Schiffman

In honor of their five-year anniversary, Hoda and Jenna also lit up the Empire State Building purple and pink, dressing appropriately for the occasion, with Savannah doing so as well on Tuesday's edition of the morning news.

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager in New Orleans to celebrate five years of "Today with Hoda and Jenna"© Instagram
The co-anchors will mark their anniversary with a two-day special in Louisiana

They got emotional discussing the milestone on the Monday edition of their show, even being joined by Jenna's youngest, her son Hal, who she was pregnant with when the show first kicked off back in 2019.

MORE: Jenna Bush Hager has unexpected response to women who flirt with her husband

"It feels so profound to sit next to somebody who exudes joy no matter what you have going on," Jenna said to Hoda. The latter added through tears: "We're an us, which is big."

TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager and son Hal on Monday, April 8, 2024© Getty Images
Jenna's son Hal joined her on their anniversary special

"A lot of times friendships don't grow… Not ours. Every day it's something different," she continued, explaining how they'd grown from colleagues to dear friends and sharing that Jenna had helped her "heal" in many ways.

MORE: Hoda Kotb reveals she's planning third date with mystery man introduced to her by Jenna Bush Hager

They welcomed special guests like Meghan Trainor and Chloe Fineman for their special, and looked back on some of their favorite memories, including the time Jenna surprised Hoda with an appearance from Oprah Winfrey and when Hoda has gotten to surprise students in need with scholarships.

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager at The Empire State Building on April 08, 2024 in New York City.© Getty Images
The Empire State Building was lit pink and purple in their honor as well

"When something works, it works, and time flies," Hoda said in a pre-taped interview. "We blinked and it was five." Jenna added: "It's just been the most fun five years of my life."

Get the lowdown on the biggest, hottest celebrity news, features, and profiles coming out of the U.S. Sign up to our HELLO! Hollywood newsletter and get them delivered straight to your inbox. 

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.