The Today show really, really wants you to be excited about Kathie Lee Gifford’s first day on the air. They’ve been building up to it for a couple of weeks now, and today when she raced out onto the plaza at Rockefeller Center, she was met by the screams of dozens of fans wearing T-shirts that matched the color of her jacket. And after just a few minutes, it’s become clear what kind of show the last hour of Today is going to become: an old-lady lovefest. She and co-host Hoda Kotb devoted the opening of their show to talking about how much they liked each other, exchanging little-known tidbits of gossip, and admitting that on their first meeting, they ended up crying in the ladies’ room. See, it turns out they’ve jacked Natalie Morales and Ann Curry for the final hour. They’re trying to re-create some of the magic that Kathie Lee had with a single co-host, like she had with Regis Philbin on Live. To that end, it didn’t even take until the first commercial break for Hoda to put on a Regis mask and crack jokes about being an old white man.
Our favorite part of today’s episode came even earlier, though, when Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer cut to Kathie Lee while she was in hair and makeup. Ol’ KL, who hadn’t been touched up yet, held a copy of the Post in front of her face for the entire 60-second segment. “It takes a village to put someone together for TV these days,” someone joked sympathetically. “It takes a taxidermist!” Kathie Lee shrieked. Touché, Kath. Making the jokes yourself before the blogs can — you’re clearly not as out of touch as we thought.