In the January 26th issue of the National Enquirer it was revealed Kathie Lee Gifford and her co-hostess Hodda Kotb are struggling to pump up their sliding ratings. If you’re not a follower of NBC’s The Today Show the producers decided to try and extend the show by adding a fourth hour in September of 2007.
Kathie Lee who made what seemed like constant headlines when she was the co-hostess with Regis Philbin was brought on in April of 2008 to try and generate interest for the fourth hour. Kathie Lee and her co-hostess Hoda have worked hard to draw attention to the show. Kathie Lee underwent a major makeover including a significant hair redo to freshen her look and even the Kathie Lee haters agreed she looked great.
Unfortunately the ratings for the NBC fourth hour have continued to slide and show no sign of going up. Since Kathie Lee has joined the show it has lost viewers dropping from 1.9 million to 1.7 million. Although the network claimed the drop was seasonal, the numbers have not picked up and the fourth hour continues to be on shaky ground.
Critics are not sure whether the problems are directly tied to Kathie Lee or the time slot or other issues. There are also questions about Hoda and Kathie and their chemistry as co-hostesses.
Industry watchers believe the fourth hour may be on its last legs and could be going off the air. Some experts believe Kathie Lee may be replaced.
Hodda is very popular with the network and viewers and could wind up in some other role. Ironically when Kathie Lee was with Regis, her popularity was at an all time high even though she had viewers who loved to hate her.
At this point only time will tell what will happen to the show. Insiders say Kathie Lee has given 150% to the show and is totally dedicated to making it a success but something is just not working.
One thing which comes to mind is the fact that all television viewing is down, not just Kathie Lee’s show or the morning shows. As more people transition to the Web for their news and related viewing, TV viewership is suffering. There was also a major downturn of television viewership during the writers strike which has not yet rebounded to similar levels.
Kathie Lee is not the only talk show hostess suffering from low ratings. Yes, it’s true she has had a love/hate relationship with the media and her viewers but this time Kathie Lee may be as much a victim of the change in viewership patterns and habits as she is to her on-air talents.
What do you think? Are Kathie Lee’s low viewership numbers related specifically to her as an on-air talent, to her partnership with Hodda or just the current trend away from morning television?