Kathie Lee and Hoda call her “Donna-Dorable” — and she spends her days chatting with Ludacris, Ashley Graham, Jaden Smith and other stars
Twenty-six-year-old Donna Farizan has one of the coolest jobs in TV.
She gets to hang with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb every morning on NBC’s “Today” show. She’s been killing it as the show’s fourth hour “social contributor” — a job that didn’t exist till she pitched it — since November 2017.
Farizan describes her current role as “the digital face” of the fourth hour (a mecca for celebs, light-hearted discussion, and, of course, plenty of free-flowing wine). She hosts her own online show in which she interviews the likes of Ashley Graham, Jaden Smith, Sam Smith, and Ludacris, appears on the television broadcast daily, and runs the official KLG & Hoda Instagram Story.
Farizan studied communications at George Washington in University, interned for “Today” and NBC multiple times, and eventually landed a full-time job as a “Today” assistant. She then convinced the show’s executive producer on growing the fourth hour’s social media presence, to bring a younger demographic to the audience. And then, in her spare time, she did some interviews for the show’s YouTube channel and, after proving how valuable social media is, her bosses gave her ownership over a digital series called “Off Air,” to complement the star-studded TV broadcast.
“You should always be doing the job that you want to get,” she told Moneyish.
Farizan’s “social contributor” job is a balancing act: Her day at the office hits its stride starting at 8 a.m. She whizzes into Studio 1A (the show’s legendary home in Rockefeller Plaza), attends a morning run-of-show meeting, goes through hair and makeup, and then it’s show time.
She also spilled the beans on an ongoing turf war with frenemy Joel McHale, the comedian who has targeted Farizan, in jest, on his new Netflix show. “A couple of months ago, I started my official YouTube show… and the day that it was announced, Joel McHale was on (“Today”) and… he was unable to participate,” Farizan said.
“Kathie Lee asked on air, ‘So is Joel McHale going to be on your show today?’ And I said, ‘Unfortunately, he’s unable to participate.’ And the ‘Joel McHale Show’ had fun with it.”
In this episode of “Working Lunch,” Farizan tells Moneyish about how she landed her covetable job — and what it’s really like to work with Kotb and Gifford.
“Hoda and Kathie Lee are the best,” Farizan concluded, “and I feel so lucky to be working with them every day.”
And the love is mutual. As Gifford told Moneyish: “I’m the one that named ‘Donna-Dorable’ for one simple reason: because she is. She is a natural (who) exudes positivity, and she’s genuinely interested in everybody and everything. She reminds me of me in better days.”
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