Kim Kardashian West Rodney Reed Said 'Praise Jesus' When Execution Got Halted

FAMILY PLAYS A HUGE ROLE
NBC

Kim Kardashian West says an overwhelming sense of relief and hope filled the room when Rodney Reed learned his execution had been delayed ... and she could "feel his soul" as he got emotional about it -- she could feel it, because she was there.

Kim told Jenna Bush Hager on "Today" about visiting with the death row inmate last week as he was just days away from his scheduled execution for a 1996 murder conviction -- a crime she believes he did not commit.

She was sitting with Reed when he got word that the highest court in Texas has issued a stay of execution and remanded the case back to the trial court for further consideration, and Kim says it was extremely emotional ... Rodney let out a "Praise Jesus."

Kim was also asked about getting involved in the Reed case and how she came to the decision to tweet at Texas Governor Greg Abbott about it ... she says it's a strategic process, and she does her homework.

She adds that she's extremely proud of the bipartisan support for Rodney's cause, and explains why she turned her focus to prison reform in the first place. Hint -- it starts with her own family.

Kim also responds to the victim's family's belief that Reed is indeed guilty ... she says she's sympathetic, but still wants to make sure all the evidence is released.

As we've reported, Reed is on death row for the murder of Stacey Stites, a white woman he claims he had a consensual affair with. Reed was convicted of raping and killing Stites, but has maintained his innocence for over 20 years ... and new evidence has come to light suggesting another suspect -- Stites' fiance at the time.

Kathie Lee Gifford Sorry, Hoda ... I Don't Miss My 'Today' Job!!!

Exclusive
NO THANK YOU
TMZ.com

Kathie Lee Gifford's definitely not wistful over her old gig at NBC ... but she's still got love for all her old friends there.

The famous TV host was leaving the NBC building in NYC Tuesday afternoon when we asked if she misses her morning news days with 'Today' as the cohost of the fourth hour, "Today with Kathie Lee and Hoda."

In a word ... nope!

Kathie tells us she misses the people, but not the work, and she's very happy doing what she's doing now ... so don't expect an NBC comeback.

It's interesting ... Kathie just made her return to her old stomping grounds this week for the first time since leaving the show in April, and told her pal, Hoda Kotb -- who now hosts the show with Jenna Bush Hager -- she's happier than ever.

As for why ... Gifford moved to Nashville, and she says the people and the culture there are just so much kinder, and the atmosphere is more joyful and fun.

Kathie's also expressed a desire to produce Christian movies, which she's been doing with the Hallmark Channel, and has a Christmas flick called "A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love" coming up.

Sounds like more than anything ... her new situation just suits her better than the Big Apple.

Matt Lauer Denies Rape Story 'Today' Crew Responds

TMZ.com

8:57 AM PT -- "Today" anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb seemed to have Brooke's back Wednesday morning during their reporting of the story, somberly saying the allegations she made were "shocking and appalling" and that they fully support Brooke coming forward.

SHOCKED AND APPALLED
TODAY

Hoda went on to explain that this new revelation -- much like the initial wave of allegations against Matt -- was like opening a door on somebody you thought you knew, but realizing there's an ugly side to them. She notes that these aren't just allegations of an affair, but allegations of a crime ... and that news was a shocking bombshell to the "Today" crew.

Both of them said they were going to take time to process the claim, but made a point of saying they were disturbed nonetheless.

Matt Lauer is firing back against a bombshell claim of rape against him by an ex-NBC employee, saying all the sexual encounters they had were consensual and mutual.

The disgraced "Today" show outcast penned a letter Wednesday in response to a salacious claim made in Ronan Farrow's new book -- in which a woman named Brooke Nevils says Matt anally raped her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Nevils -- a former NBC producer -- claims she and Matt had several drinks together one night, and that on two separate occasions ... she went up to his hotel room. During that second visit, Nevils alleges Matt pounced on her, put her on the bed and penetrated her.

In the book, Ronan says Nevils told him she repeatedly said "no" during the alleged rape.

Matt says that account is "categorically false" though, going on to explain that the episode was completely wanted and reciprocated on both sides ... which carried over into what he describes as an "extramarital affair" back in New York.

In his letter, Matt writes ... "In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault. It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense."

Matt Lauer Erased from 'Today' In 25-Year History Montage

Matt Lauer did not have a single special moment on "Today" during his 20-year run as cohost of the show ... at least according to the producers of an anniversary montage.

NBC released a highlight video Thursday in honor of its morning program celebrating 25 years in the famed indoor/outdoor Studio 1A ... but Lauer's nowhere to be seen.

Check it out ... the 5 and half minute vid opens with Savannah Guthrie talking about the big move to 1A in 1994, and features clips and interviews with several other "Today" stars like Al Roker, Hoda Kotb, Lester Holt, Craig Melvin, Jenna Bush, Carson Daly and of course Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel.

The montage leaves out Lauer, though, who took over for Gumbel back in 1997 and remained there until November 2017 ... when he was fired by NBC for sexual misconduct.

11/29/17
THE ANNOUNCEMENT
NBC

As you know, Lauer's accused of sexually harassing multiple female NBC staffers during his time with the network, along with specific allegations of exposing himself, giving sex toys as gifts, and having a button under his desk to lock the door without getting up.

The scandal is still clearly on the minds of "Today" honchos who decided to keep him out of the "special" tribute. Interestingly, Ann Curry -- who had issues with Lauer and claims she told NBC brass he was a problem back in 2012 -- was also left out of the montage.

Colin Kaepernick's Lawyer Calls BS On Goodell ... You Think Mark Sanchez Is Better?!

Breaking News

Colin Kaepernick's attorney just went off on NFL Commish Roger Goodell -- claiming his explanation that teams just don't think Colin can help them win is the biggest crock he's ever heard.

And, Kap's lawyer is using Mark Sanchez to make his point.

Mark Geragos appeared on "Today" Thursday and was asked about the comments Goodell made at his State of the NFL Address this week ... when Goodell said Kap's unemployment status is based on football, not politics.

"Anybody who believes that will believe that Mark Sanchez was a better choice," Geragos said ... noting several other QBs who are "well past their prime" were also signed this season.

Geragos also asked why NFL teams did NOT give Kap a workout in 2018 -- "Why didn't anybody ever bring him in and see where his skills were at? I think the whole thing is basically a ruse."

Geragos believes Goodell's statement will help Kap's collusion case against the NFL -- saying, "The collusion actually was the NFL kowtowing to [President Trump]."

He also says ... "There isn't anybody who's got a couple of neurons firing that wouldn't say this is collusive activity."

For the record, Mark Sanchez was signed by the Washington Redskisn at the end of the NFL season after starting QB Alex Smith went down with an injury.

When he played in 2018, Sanchez performed horribly -- completing 19 of 35 passes for only 138 yards, 0 TDs and 3 INTs.

MAGA Hat Student My Smirk Wasn't Really a Smirk ... Here's What It Meant

I FELT THREATENED
Today Show

The MAGA hat-wearing student who faced off with a Native American Vietnam-era vet says his smirk seen 'round the world wasn't out of smugness ... just peaceful defiance.

Covington Catholic High School junior Nick Sandmann appeared on "Today" Wednesday with Savannah Guthrie, who grilled him on a number of topics -- most importantly ... why didn't he just walk away, and what was up with that smirk on his face?

Sandmann says, in hindsight, he wishes he would've just walked when Nathan Phillips came up to him drumming. That said, he explains that, in the moment, he felt leaving or making any sudden movement would've escalated the situation.

On that smirk ... Sandmann says it was just him smiling with the message of, "[T]hat is the best you're going to get out of me, you won't get any further reaction of aggression and I'm going to stand here as long as you want to hit that drum in my face."

Sandmann further explained people who have come to judge him based on one expression they saw have jumped to harsh conclusions based on mere assumptions.

The full interview can be watched on the "Today" website.

Nick Sandmann No Apology for Nathan Phillips ... But I'd Like to Talk to Him

NO DISRESPECT INTENDED
TODAY

The MAGA hat-wearing high schooler who drew the ire of many for standing and smirking at Vietnam-era vet Nathan Phillips during a protest says he meant no disrespect ... but it doesn't seem like he's planning on saying sorry either.

Nick Sandmann is speaking in public for the first time since the incident went down in D.C. Friday, telling 'Today' show co-host Savannah Guthrie he feels he had every right to do what he did.

Sandmann also tells Guthrie, who asks him if he sees any fault in his actions, he respects Phillips and hopes he can talk to him ... and wishes he could have avoided the situation.

As you know, Sandmann and his classmates from Covington Catholic HS in Kentucky were seen on video surrounding Phillips -- a Native American participating in the Indigenous People's March -- laughing and chanting at him while he was singing and drumming.

Sandmann particularly stood out as he stood face-to-face with Phillips, steadfast with a smirk.

Many believe the vid shows the students harassing Phillips, but others came to the defense of Sandmann and the students later, claiming a longer video shows Phillips was the instigator of the confrontation. Sandmann backed this in a full written statement, claiming Phillips singled him out and he simply stood his ground.

Sandmann's full interview will air on Wednesday morning on "Today."

Megyn Kelly Ready For Jury Duty ... It's Been A While Since I've Had Time For This!!!

WHATCHA PACKIN'?
PC/MEGA

Megyn Kelly is keeping herself busy during her work furlough ... because she just reported for jury duty in New York, the first time in years she's had time to perform her civic duty.

The former NBC and Fox News host showed up Thursday morning at Manhattan Supreme Court, and she was ready for a long day ... Megyn was packing a couple newspapers, two crossword books, and an iPad with "Crazy Rich Asians" on deck.

We're guessing she's been hitting the gym in her downtime, too ... sounds like one heavy purse!

As you know ... Megyn hasn't been on the air since October, when she was ousted from NBC for her blackface remarks.

Megyn was in a joking mood even before she showed up to the courthouse. Of course, you can really take advantage of funemployment when you're raking in around $35 million.

Watch ... Megyn says she hasn't served on a jury in forever, and she drops another hint about when she might return to TV.

Kathie Lee Gifford My Replacement's All Up to Hoda ...

HODA'S CALL
TMZ.com

Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb can't seem to decide who has more word in choosing a replacement for KLG on the "Today" show ... but it's definitely one of them.

We got the NBC morning show anchors Wednesday in NYC, the day after Kathie announced she's leaving "Today" at the end of her 11th year. Our photog asked who's in line to fill Kathie's shoes, and she enthusiastically says, "Whoever Hoda wants, Hoda gets."

For her part, Hoda played it coy, saying ... "This is all about KLG." Kathie immediately refutes that, though, but Hoda insists it is. It's like an Abbot and Costello bit here, really.

Our camera guy throws out Jenna Bush Hager as a possibility -- who's said to be in the running -- but Hoda and Kathie are definitely playing this close to the vest.

Kathie Lee Gifford I'm Kissing 'Today' Goodbye

TEARFUL GOODBYE
NBC

Kathie Lee Gifford is saying sayonara to the "Today" show ... after she reaches the 11-year mark.

Kathie Lee unveiled her play Tuesday on the show, and she and her co-host, Hoda Kotb, immediately dissolved into tears.

Kathie didn't say why she's leaving, but it's gotta be a blow to NBC. The 10 AM hour of "Today" was one of the most profitable shows for the network. It was doing consistently well, although it suffered a drop in rating during the Megyn Kelly tenure.

It's pretty remarkable ... Kathie was a phenom with Regis Philbin on their morning show, "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee." After leaving that show in 2000, she took a break. It's almost impossible to recreate magic in a bottle, and there were doubters when she went to "Today," but she proved them wrong ... really wrong.

Her last day will be her 11-year anniversary on April 7, 2019 -- and she is leaving to pursue music, movie and TV opportunities.

Kathie started her career as the "singing girl" on "Name that Tune" in 1977.

Dear Raiders ... YOU'RE MAKING CARSON DALY CRY!

EXCLUSIVE
DON'T GET ME STARTED
TMZSports.com

It's bad enough the Raiders are terrible ... but now they're hurting Carson Daly!!!!

Everyone knows the "Today" show star is a sensitive guy ... and he really cares about the Silver & Black.

So, when we asked how he was handling this dumpster fire of a season, Carson kept it real.

"Please don't get me started ... I don't want to cry. It hurts."

ARE YOU READING THIS JON GRUDEN?! DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING TO OUR NATIONAL TREASURE?!

But wait, there's more ... we asked if the Raiders should consider moving on from quarterback Derek Carr.

"No. It's Gruden I have an issue with right now" ... adding, "I'm just upset Khalil Mack's gone. I'm upset [Amari Cooper] is gone."

"I'm very distraught over it. I'm a die-hard fan."

See what you did, Raiders? You see this? It's not okay.

Megyn Kelly to NBC I'll Zip My Lips ... For $10 Mil

Megyn Kelly has told NBC she will not spill whatever beans she has on the network and the people who work there ... but at a hefty price.

Sources familiar with the negotiations tell TMZ ... NBC offered Kelly $38 million, which the network says represents the balance owed on her contract. As we reported, Megyn was pulling in around $25 mil a year and she was one year and some change into the 3-year deal.

We're told NBC attached a pretty standard string ... a confidentiality agreement. Her lawyer said his client would sign on the dotted line ... for an additional $10 million. We're told NBC told the attorney to pound sand.

NBC definitely has cause for concern ... Kelly wrote a book, "Settle for More," in which she targeted Fox News Channel, and she has been critical of the network since her exit.

We're told settlement negotiations are ongoing.

The Daily Mail first reported the $10 million demand.

Aly Raisman Scorched Earth on USA Gymnastics ... They Can't Be Trusted!

Breaking News

Aly Raisman just went OFF on USA Gymnastics -- saying the organization is still not being transparent about the child abuse scandal and warns the public ... THEY CAN'T BE TRUSTED.

Raisman is really pissed about the fact there still has not been a full, independent investigation by law enforcement ... despite the fact she's been calling for one since JANUARY!!!

Raisman calls the situation "absolutely absurd."

During her interview with Hoda Kotb on "Today," Aly also stated, "We can't trust USA Gymnastics because they're not being transparent."

She was referring to 2 major recent developments in the program. First, Team USA tumbling coach Sergio Galvez being forced to resign amid undisclosed accusations of misconduct on Monday.

Second, Steve Penny -- the former president of USA Gymnastics -- being arrested by U.S. Marshals for allegedly tampering with evidence in the Larry Nassar case.

Aly's problem ... she claims Team USA Gymnastics needs to be more open about what really happened behind the scenes. Instead, she claims the org is more concerned with fixing a PR problem than a "child abuse problem."

Hoda asks Aly if she'll ever consider taking over Team USA Gymnastics herself -- and she doesn't exactly say no.

Al Roker Sweet Revenge Tapped as Part of Team to Replace Megyn Kelly

EXCLUSIVE
NEW BEGINNINGS
NBC

Al Roker got the last laugh in the Megyn Kelly disaster because sources connected with the network tell us, Roker will be back in the anchor chair during the 9 AM hour ... after being replaced by Kelly last year.

Our network sources tell us, the network will go back to its tried-and-true formula of using existing NBC talent for the 9 AM show, and Roker will be a big part of that.

Al had the 9 AM hour, but last year he was taken off the show ... to make room for Megyn later that year. We're told Al was bitterly disappointed but still gracious.

Her ratings have been a disaster, affecting the show that followed with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford.

As you know ... Roker called out Kelly for her blackface comment ... something that was a factor in Kelly's exit.

The Monday show was anchored by Hoda and Al ... Hoda said today begins "a new chapter." It's unclear if Hoda will also be part of the 9 AM team. It seems unlikely, because she's already on from 7 - 9 AM and again at 10 AM.

Megyn's exit deal is being negotiated. TMZ broke the story ... she's asking for $50 million to settle up. She was pulling in $25 million a year.

Megyn Kelly I Learned My Lesson on Blackface ... Apologizes After Al Roker Rips Her

Breaking News

Megyn Kelly is getting torn to shreds, deservedly so, by her coworkers at NBC -- especially Al Roker -- who demanded she apologize to the country for her asinine blackface comments ... and she did.

Megyn began her show Wednesday morning with a 2-minute mea culpa ... insisting she had learned a lesson due to the massive backlash after she said it was fine to wear blackface for Halloween "as long as it's a character."

In her apology, she said, "It is not okay for that to be part of any costume. Halloween or otherwise. I've never been a PC kind of person, but I do understand the value of being sensitive to our history. Particularly on race and ethnicity."

Worth noting ... her apology drew a standing ovation from audience members -- many of whom were African-American.

It's unclear if her apology went far enough for Al, though. A few hours earlier, he blasted her on the air, saying ... "She owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country."

Other "Today" anchors called Megyn's comment ..."stupid and indefensible"

Megyn Kelly Anonymous Op-Ed Author's a Coward

EXCLUSIVE
GROW A PAIR
TMZ.com

Megyn Kelly, who's had her own battles with President Trump, is shockingly in his corner ... at least when it comes to the anonymous New York Times op-ed author showing his or her face!

The "Today" host was leaving NBC Studios in NYC Thursday when we asked about the contentious letter which claims Trump staffers are actively working to undermine 45. Megyn says the author of the letter is gutless, and needs to come out and speak publicly against Trump ... instead of working in the shadows.

Considering her rocky history with Trump, it's interesting to hear Megyn echo the administration's message regarding the anonymous piece.

She did say shortly after the election she and Trump were good.

We weren't necessarily buying it back then, but looks like she's definitely in lockstep with POTUS. On this issue, at least.