Kathie Lee Gifford’s decision to depart the “Today” show after “like 120 years” left fans wondering if she wanted a quieter life — but instead her next career as a movie mogul is already meteoric, Page Six is told.
The veteran broadcaster — whose last day on the NBC show is April 5 — took a hiatus last summer to shoot a romantic comedy with Scottish former CBS late-night host Craig Ferguson, which follows a widow’s journey around the world. Gifford — who wrote the movie after her husband, Frank, passed away — has secured funding for another four movies, all focusing on the experiences of widows and empty-nesters.
Gifford learned that there are around 15 million widows in the US and shrewdly recognized the group as an under-represented market. She said, “I’ve become a widow, I lost my mother, and am an empty-nester, and there’s millions of women in America just like me. There’s nothing in the movie world made for women of my age who are alone and often affluent. I started writing the first movie, I realized there is a huge market for it, and now I’ve got funding for four more.”
We’re told that the follow-up to her first movie, “Then Came You” — which is yet to have a confirmed release date — will also be partially shot in Ferguson’s native country.
Gifford will move to Nashville now that she’s done with “Today,” and adds she’ll also be writing other scripts, some based on her Christian faith, including Hallmark’s “Godwink” movies. She also directed a short film in Israel, “The God Who Sees,” which will be released around Easter.
“Today” stars celebrated Gifford at the new Times Square Edition on Tuesday. Hoda Kotb told us, “People always would say about our show . . . if they’re feeling blue or terrible . . . we made them happy.” Savannah Guthrie added, “Kathie showed us that you can be your true self. You don’t have to put on some mask and act like Miss Perfect or Mr. Perfect — you can just be who you are. She did that before it was cool.” Al Roker, Carson Daly, Dylan Dreyer, Craig Melvin and Jill Martin were also there.
Additional reporting by Tashara Jones
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