Hoda Kotb is such a reliable, comforting presence on NBC’s TODAY — having moved to co-anchor position in 2018 after years of co-hosting the lighter side of the show with Kathie Lee Gifford — that it caused quite a stir when she disappeared for over a week without explanation. Even this of us who catch the show in snippets began to wonder if something was amiss as the days passed, and no explanation (vacation or otherwise) emerged on air. Likewise, Hoda’s cryptic Instagram posts didn’t provide answers and suggested that she was working through something.
Hoda’s Instagramming vaguely referred to “hope” and “miracles,” and after a two-week period, she has reemerged on TODAY (as has Savannah Guthrie, who also also suddenly disappeared last week for what ended up being a mid-show positive Covid test). Although Hoda had briefly mentioned (late last week) that a family health issue was at hand, the more detailed story is a real gut punch. Hoda’s 3-year-old daughter was hospitalized (including the ICU) for over a week. Hoda explained her rough weeks while thanking Savannah for her support, and Hoda’s voice began to break near the end:
“My youngest, Hope, was in the ICU for a few days and in the hospital for a little more than a week. I’m so grateful she’s home. We are watching her closely. I am just so happy. You know what I realized, Savannah? When your child is ill, the amount of gratitude you can have for people who helped you out, so I’m grateful for the doctors at Cornell, who are amazing, and the nurses, and I’m grateful to family, and I’m grateful to friends like you, who were there every single day, so I want to say thank you for that. I love you.”
So there you have it. No drama occurred (as some whispers wondered or like certain Apple TV+ show would necessarily dramatize), but instead, a harrowing reason why Hoda needed to check out and tend to the most important matters of all. This morning’s show appeared to go off without a hitch, which is wonderful to see after rotating guest hosts gave their chairs quite a workout over the past few weeks.