MEDIA
09/11/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Kathie Lee Gifford: The Host "Today" Viewers Love To Hate

Late last month, Sam Zien, better known as Sam the Cooking Guy -- a regular on the "Today" show on NBC -- lost it.

"Can't I talk?" he said in exasperation, after the hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb interrupted his attempt to describe a salad preparation one too many times. "I watch this show every day. Everybody has issues with a lot of chatter back here, pay attention one minute." That did the trick.

The scene, posted on YouTube, was heavily viewed and discussed. Most of the venom was reserved for Mrs. Gifford, who joined the fourth hour of "Today" four months ago and has been a lightning rod for ridicule ever since.

Ms. Kotb, by contrast, has been on the fourth hour of the show (10 to 11 a.m.) since it was introduced last September and generally draws praise from viewers, who seem to identify with her position as someone who is often cut off midsentence.

It is the nature of television these days that everyone can register an opinion about every show -- nay, every minute of every show -- in a public place. And Mrs. Gifford seems to bring the opinionated out of the woodwork.

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