Peeling Shrimp. Watching birds of prey. Eating coconut cake. What do these three activities have in common?
On Thursday, May 2, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb hosted the fourth-hour edition of the “Today” show at the College of Charleston. The two drew a crowd with members of the community and students taking a break from final exams. Filming from the Cistern Yard, the show’s program aired live at 10 a.m. as Americans tuned in to watch a day full of food, fun and laughs.
The NBC crew filmed two editions of the “Today” show’s fourth hour with one hour-long program taped for the May 3 broadcast and the second one filmed live. The fourth hour show featured Gifford and Kotb competing in a Charleston trivia contest, music from Spoleto Festival USA performers Abner and Amanda Ramirez and local Charleston food tasting.
Before Thursday’s live broadcast, Gifford and Kotb spent their time in Charleston touring Drayton Hall, eating at Peninsula Grill (multiple times), sightseeing on a horse-drawn carriage ride and buying fancy hats from a shop on King Street. While Kotb said she’s been “fighting this humidity” since Tuesday when they arrived, she said she loves the city and would come again.
“How could you not? This is one of those places that is contagious,” Kotb said. “Like once you come, I can’t imagine not coming again.”
While the two of them both enjoyed the people, Gifford appeared to enjoy Charleston’s scenery and architecture, while Kotb seemed more focused on the food. Gifford commented, “Nobody warned us we would gain five pounds.”
Despite light rain toward the end of filming, students remained in the excited crowd holding signs.
Some of the students present for the filming still had final exams that day or the next. Angela Muhammad said she didn’t have any exams left, but even if she did, she would have came anyway. She said, “I think it’s awesome. Just being here and getting to see the production and all the people is amazing. I used to watch [their show] all the time. It’s really interesting getting to see it.”
Ryan Spraker, another student at the College, said he woke up at 6:45 that morning in order to wait in line. While he had an exam the next day, Spraker stayed for the whole event. Spraker said, “The people with the signs said it best, ‘I don’t even get up this early for class.'”
(Photos by Sarah Sheafer)