On the “Today” show yesterday, KATHIE LEE GIFFORD announced that she’s leaving in April, when she celebrates her 11th anniversary on the show. She said, “I’ve been here almost 11 years. Thought I’d stay one year – [but] something happened along the way, [I] fell in love with a beautiful Egyptian goddess, and now, when it’s our 11th anniversary I’m gonna be leaving.” She said she loved the people on the show, especially that “Egyptian goddess” HODA KOTB. Kathie Lee cried throughout the announcement and then Hoda struggled to get through HER comments as SHE cried. They even had some tissues brought up to them. NBC News said, “As we all know, Kathie Lee’s plate has been overflowing lately with film, music and book projects, and after giving us 11 extraordinary years, she’s decided to focus her attention full-time on those other creative endeavors.” Kathie Lee has reportedly been planning her departure for a while now. In fact, word has it she was originally planning to leave LAST winter but she decided to stay on a little longer after Matt Lauer’s firing. No official word on Kathie Lee’s replacement. She said she knew of someone who’d be wonderful, but, “There’s a great pool of talent and beauty and heart right around here, right within our own family.” A lot of people speculating that it’ll be JENNA BUSH HAGER, who fills in when Kathe Lee is out. She’s been with the “Today” show since 2009.
FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE announced they’re releasing their fourth album on February 15th. It’s called “Can’t Say I Ain’t Country” . . . they’re going to support it with a tour of the same name. BRIAN KELLEY talked about how they came up with the title. “You can say a lot of things. You can call somebody a lot of different names and have a lot of different opinions, but at the end of the day, when it comes to me and TYLER you can’t say we ain’t country.” He added that the sound is heavily influenced by “the ’90s country” they grew up on – but it’s also well-rounded. “We got some collaborations with Jason Derulo [and] Jason Aldean. So, there’s a little bit of everything.” Tyler is just itching to get things rolling. “We’ve been working on [it] for over a year now, so BK and I are definitely ready. And we’re gonna kick off our big headline tour I think, in May.”
Radio host GLENN BECK paid off $27,000 worth of layaway items at a Texas Walmart.
Remember on “Seinfeld”, how Elaine would shove people and yell “Get out”? Apparently, that came about because JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS would do that in real life.
BRETT ELDREDGE released the video to his a cappella version of “The First Noel”. The visuals are amazing. Quote, “We set up a microphone in a beautiful, historic church and as some of my closest team and friends sat in the pews, I sang the song [with] words echoing up and down the halls.”
If you’re pro-“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, then you’ll be happy to hear that three versions of the song are climbing the charts. They are: Dean Martin’s version from 1959 . . . Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone’s interpretation from the “Elf” soundtrack in 2003 . . . and a version recorded by Idina Menzel and Michael Buble in 2014. Several other versions have also seen an increase in streaming, including a 2016 version by Brett Eldredge and Meghan Trainor.
Dolly Parton honored her late brother with a song at a private memorial service in Tennessee on Monday. Floyd Estel Parton, her longtime songwriting partner, died last Thursday at the age of 61.
CHELY WRIGHT loves entertaining the troops on USO tours, so “Rolling Stone” asked how that “longstanding relationship” is going. Sadly, it’s gone away. She said, “I haven’t gotten to do a lot since I came out. Frankly, I haven’t been invited to go. I don’t know if that’s just a coincidence. But I sure miss it.”
A holiday edition of “Ellen’s Game of Games” at 8:00 p.m. on NBC.
A holiday edition of “Little Big Shots” at 9:00 p.m. on NBC.
Mayim Bialik is 43. (Blossom)
Hank Williams the Third is 46
Dionne Warwick is 78
Connie Francis is 80.
Bob Barker is 95.