Kathy Lee Gifford banned from plugging wine

American talk show host Kathy Lee Gifford has been told by NBC not to plug her new wine brand on the Today show.

“They let me announce it and then they’ve asked us to not discuss it right now,” Gifford told AP.

“We’re in the middle of the big takeover of a major corporation. I think they just want to be very careful.

“Everybody wants to dot i’s and cross t’s and you notice the wine is still sitting there but they’ve just asked me to be a little careful while they’re under great scrutiny and I’m happy to do that,” she added.

Paris born Gifford co-hosts the fourth hour the Today show with Hoda Kotb.

“We love and support Kathie Lee and as always, we let her comments speak for themselves,” a Today show representative told AP.

Gifford has partnered with Scheid Family Wines in Monterey, California, on a pair of KLG branded wines: Gifft 2012 Chardonnay and a 2011 Red Blend.

Half of the 13.5% abv Chardonnay, priced at US$19.99 a bottle, is aged in stainless steel, while the other 50% is aged in French oak.

Also priced at US$19.99, the 2011 Red Blend is formed of Merlot, Petite Syrah, Syrah and Petit Verdot, along with tiny amounts of Muscat Canelli and Riesling.

She describes her partnership with Scheid as a “natural fit”, with wine often present on the Today show, though believes the amount guests drink has been “outrageously satirised”.

While Gifford and Kotb’s Today show slot continues to have strong ratings, viewer figures for the rest of the show have slid of late.

Restoring the show to its former glory has been a priority of NBC for the last two years.

NBC’s owner, Comcast Corp, plans to buy Time Warner Cable Inc. If the deal goes through it would combine America’s two top cable companies into an entertainment juggernaut.

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