Jenna Bush Hager: Inside the 'Today' Frontrunner and Former First Daughter's TV Career

From first daughter to potential first choice for Kathie Lee Gifford‘s NBC gig, it’s been an interesting road for Jenna Bush Hager

Speculation over who would take Gifford’s spot on Today‘s fourth hour began as soon as she announced her upcoming departure on Tuesday, with a source telling ET it will likely be Bush Hager. 

“The likelihood of it going to her is high. She’s very well liked here [at the show and network],” the source said. If Bush Hager gets the gig, she’d be filling Gifford’s seat after the long-time host leaves the program on April 7, 2019 — the 11-year anniversary of her start on the show.

Bush Hager, meanwhile, has been with the network for a little less than a decade. She made her first appearance on Today in 2009, with NBC reportedly shelling out a reported $500,000 a year on her salary. She didn’t have much experience in broadcast, but succeeded at bringing in high-profile interviews with several members of her famous family.

In 2006, two years after leaving the White House, the University of Texas at Austin alum was working as a teacher’s aide. Several months later, she worked with UNICEF; she was interviewed for the first time by ET at the organization’s gala in 2007. 

Jenna Bush Hager launches her book, ‘Ana’s Story: A Journey Of Hope,’ at a UNICEF event in 2007.

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

“I’m a novice at red carpets,” she confessed at the time. “It can be a little intimidating.” 

However, Bush Hager found her voice as a writer later that year, as she penned the first of several books, including two with her mom, Laura. “She edited it all the way through,” she told ET at the 2007 UNICEF gala. “It was a lot of fun having her help me.” 

In 2008, she married Henry Hager. The pair welcomed their first child together, daughter Mila, in 2013, and their second daughter, in 2015. 

The same year, Bush Hager also spent time working with her grandmother, Barbara Bush, when she interviewed the former first lady for Today in honor of her 90th birthday. Barbara died this year, but in her Today interview, she reflected on the lessons she had taught her daughter and granddaughter — and gave her props for some of her more wild child moments. 

“If you do something bad, I point it out to you,” Barbara said in the interview. “I stood up for you when you stuck your tongue at all the press, because you’ve been wanting to do that for years. Every American has.” 

And now, Hager has found a new family at NBC, telling ET in 2014 that she couldn’t have felt more welcomed by the network. Even though it’s cliche, the Today show is like a family.”

See more on Today‘s upcoming switch-up in the video below. 

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