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Jenna Bush Hager's emotional 'Today' debut as host: 'I'm just gonna cry all the time?'  2 Months ago

Source:   USA Today  

Jenna Bush Hager's first day hosting the fourth hour of "Today" kicked off with excitement and a few tears. 

"Today with Hoda & Jenna" debuted Monday, following Friday's exit of Kathie Lee Gifford, who was by Hoda Kotb's side for nearly 11 years. 

Bush Hager, announced as Giffords replacement in February, revealed she had some trouble sleeping the night before her big day.

While scrolling Instagram "right before bed," she said she saw the new page for the morning show, @HodaAndJenna.

"And at first, I was like my head looks huge, but then I got over that," Bush Hager said. "And I just screamed and I woke (husband Henry Hager) up.

"Then I got really hyper..." Bush Hager said, "and Henry said he was about to tranquilize me, and then I fell asleep."

On her first day, Bush Hager got a special message from her dad, former President George W. Bush, who recorded a video telling her "how much I love you and how proud I am of you. I know you'll do a fabulous job."  

Bush Hager's mother and mother-in-law also wished her well via video. And the new host was moved to tears. 

"Is this what's gonna happen?" she asked. "I'm just gonna cry all the time?"

"That was so sweet," she added, wiping tears from her eyes. 

And on the first day, Kotb and her new partner in crime still had a wrinkle to iron out. 

"We've been trying to figure out what our little pregame is gonna be. I think we figured it out just now in the makeup room... seconds ago," Kotb said.

"Do you remember it?" Bush Hager asked. 

It seemed not quite as the two yelled different phrases at the same time. 

"I thought it was, 'Let's do this, y'all?' " Bush Hager said.

They settled on "Let's go, y'all!" 

"So far, were off to an OK start," Bush Hager joked. 

More than an "OK start" considering a fan from Amarillo, Texas, engraved wine glasses for the talk show hosts, which were shown on air.

Bush Hager was excited to start her new journey. 

"The older I get, to have freshness and newness in your life, it's just the coolest," she said, reflecting on new ventures. 

"It's easy to be safe, and we've all been safe... but why not just swing for it," Kotb said. 

"And that's what we're gonna do!" Bush Hager said. 


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