Kathie Lee Gifford, Hota Kotb, Matt Lauer

<i>By Deborah Netburn, Patrick Day and Jevon Phillips, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers</i><br>
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NBC recently announced that <a href="http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/tv/la-et-ap-gifford-today31mar31,0,4233728.story">Kathie Lee Gifford would be returning to morning television as the co-host of the fourth (!) hour of the “Today”</a> show, joining current host Hoda Kotb in the 7-month-old spot.<br>
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The Gifford hire is just the latest twist in the ongoing narrative of the “Today” show, which is the most successful and long-running of the morning shows. Almost from its inception in 1952, the show created news around itself even as it covered the news (some of it serious, some of it incredibly light).<br>
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In case you haven’t had time to follow the complete “Today” story, here’s our SparkNotes version of the highlights.

( Peter Kramer / Associated Press )

By Deborah Netburn, Patrick Day and Jevon Phillips, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

NBC recently announced that Kathie Lee Gifford would be returning to morning television as the co-host of the fourth (!) hour of the “Today” show, joining current host Hoda Kotb in the 7-month-old spot.

The Gifford hire is just the latest twist in the ongoing narrative of the “Today” show, which is the most successful and long-running of the morning shows. Almost from its inception in 1952, the show created news around itself even as it covered the news (some of it serious, some of it incredibly light).

In case you haven’t had time to follow the complete “Today” story, here’s our SparkNotes version of the highlights.

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