Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager Launch Their New Show Format

It’s here! Today With Hoda & Jenna & Friends just aired its first show in front of a live studio audience. With the new format taking place twice each week, co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager now get the chance to be face-to-face with their fans.

“Today Show’s” Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Last month’s announcement

Last month, Kotb and Hager shared the exciting news that their show would be taped in front of a live, in-studio audience twice a week starting in February under the moniker Today With Hoda & Jenna & Friends.

“The ladies having an audience will make them better at what they do,” Joanne LaMarca, executive producer of Today’s fourth hour, said according to Variety. “There’s a certain energy when you perform on stage, when you have people react to what you are doing. I think that the audience is really going to change things up and I can’t wait for Hoda and Jenna to get to meet the best friends they don’t know they have.”

“I love that we have a special title for those special days, the Thursdays and Fridays,” Kotb said of the show’s name for the studio audience tapings. “Here’s the thing, a lot of people I know want to watch the show. They’re like, ‘We want to come and see it.’ And I have to say, when we’ve done this show in front of an audience it’s been really fun.”

Happy tears

Kicking off the new format on February 6 in Studio 6A, the facility previously utilized for David Letterman‘s Late Night and Megyn Kelly‘s Megyn Kelly Today, Kotb and Hager made their entrance high-fiving and hugging guests in the studio audience, who were waving purple and red pompoms to welcome the co-hosts.

“This may seem weird at home – we’re weeping. This is kind of a big day for us.” Kotb said according to Today.com, wiping away tears as she opened the show, needing a minute to take in the spectacle. “Sometimes, you just need to just take one second and just literally sit in the moment. Do you all mind if for like 10 seconds, we just marvel at your awesomeness!”

Complete with new DJ Marjorie Gubelmann to keep the music flowing, Today With Hoda & Jenna & Friends made the audience a part of the show by having them perform The Git Up challenge dance while FaceTiming the song’s artist Blanco Brown. Audience members also received some merch, with T-shirts thrown into the crowd as part of the celebration.

Star support

Kotb’s fiancé Joel Schiffman was in the audience, making his first appearance on the show, along with Hager’s husband Henry.

The co-hosts received special messages from Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen, and singer/talk show host Kelly Clarkson. “They gave Hoda and Jenna a studio with a live audience plus alcohol? Y’all are in for a crazy wild ride, enjoy it,” Clarkson said, as reported by USA Today

The studio got a surprise when the last T-shirt to be bandied about was caught by singer Meghan Trainor backstage, who joined the co-hosts as the very first guest on the show.

That wasn’t all for the surprises. Saving the best for last, Kotb and Hager were overjoyed when their daughters Mila, Poppy, and Haley ran onstage to congratulate their moms.

How do you follow up a grand opening like that? Kotb and Hager have that covered – media icon Oprah Winfrey will be their guest on Day 2!

Information on how to obtain tickets for Today With Hoda & Jenna & Friends can be found on Today.com.