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John Cena Among Favorites to Replace Kathie-Lee Gifford on NBC’s Today Show

John Cena at Comic Con
John Cena could have a new gig soon according to the latest odds. Photo by Gage Skidmore (flickr) [CC License]
  • Kathie Lee Gifford’s tenure on the Today show will end in April 2019
  • Jenna Bush Hager is currently favored to replace the television icon
  • Who else could potentially step in for Gifford starting in the spring?

It will be the end of an era next April when television icon Kathie Lee Gifford bids farewell to NBC’s Today show after 11 years, and already, fans of the hit show are betting on who her replacement will be.

Interestingly enough, WWE’s own John Cena is among the elite few currently rumored to take over for Gifford when she steps away from the show next spring. The wrestler-turned-actor has made countless appearances on the program over the years and it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him join Today full-time starting in 2019.

After all, Cena’s in-ring career has been winding down in recent years and he has slowly been making the transition into Hollywood and the television world. A recurring role on Today would be a great way for him to maintain a presence in the mainstream media, assuming his busy schedule would allow for it.

Cena doesn’t lead the list of odds-on favorites to replace Gifford, however. That honor belongs to Today correspondent, contributor and co-host Jenna Bush Hager, at +150.

Who Will Replace Kathie Lee Gifford on Today?

TV Personality Kathie Lee Gifford Replacement Odds
Jenna Bush Hager +150
Meredith Vieira +250
John Cena +400
Tiffany Haddish +500
Kelly Clarkson +550
Maria Shriver +650
Chrissy Teigen +800

Hager has been a part of Today for almost as long as Gifford, having been hired by NBC in 2009. Although she has had a much less prominent role on the show since her start, that might change with Gifford on her way out.

No other candidate is more deserving than Hager, also making her the most likely (and the best bet) to serve as Gifford’s replacement. She isn’t winning in the odds by a landslide, but she makes more sense than anyone else and should remain the front runner for now.

Trailing Hager is Meredith Vieira, who co-hosted Today from 2006 to 2011 and has been busy with other projects ever since. She actually made a one-off return to the show in 2013 to fill in for an absent Gifford, and with her own talk show ending in 2016, it’s possible she’d be interested in coming back on a permanent basis.

Tiffany Haddish has been known for her appearances on Today and has been a great guest every time.

A little later on in the list of possible replacements is accomplished actress Tiffany Haddish. Similar to Cena, she has been known for her appearances on Today and has been a great guest every time.

Then again, Haddish’s movie schedule is already jam-packed for 2019 with The Lego Movie 2, Limited Partners, The Secret Life of Pets 2, and The Kitchen set to be released in the coming months, so her limited availability might hinder her chances of landing the spot on the show.

Consider Kelly Clarkson, Maria Shriver, and Chirssy Teigen to be dark horses in the race to find a new host for Today, as any one of them would be a fine fit for the position.

No matter who NBC ultimately chooses to fill the void that Gifford will leave behind, a few months remain until a decision needs to be made, so hopefully executives will take their time in finding the best person for the job.

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