Hoda Kotb: Breast cancer sparked my rise to celebrity
September 22, 2011 7:44PM
Having lived through a mastectomy and cancer made it easy for Hoda Kotb (shown in New York earlier this month) to jockey for the job she wanted and now has — “Today” co-host. | Desiree Navarro/Getty Images
Updated: November 10, 2011 5:14PM
“Today” co-host Hoda Kotb says if she hadn’t had breast cancer five years ago, she probably wouldn’t be in the high-profile job she has today.
Kotb says her breast cancer was “actually a gift in a way.”
Kotb, 47, said breast cancer gave her “the privilege of seeing that your life has margins and you stop wasting time.”
“Suddenly you’re like, wait a second. I have a finite amount of time on this earth,” she said.
So when the “Today” show was planning to expand to a fourth hour in 2007, Kotb, then at “Dateline,” went to then-NBC boss Jeff Zucker and uncharacteristically — she says — asked him directly for the job.
“I was so calm because it was so little and nothing” in the wake of her mastectomy and cancer, she said.
“If I hadn’t gotton sick I wouldn’t be sitting next to [co-host] Kathie Lee [Gifford] right now. I wouldn’t have had the guts. It took this to make me realize, ‘swing for it,’ ” she said.
For more with Kotb, see USA Weekend’s cover story on women’s health in Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times.