KNOXVILLE — Declaring it "Moonshine Monday," "Today" show personalities Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb brought their Volunteer spirit this morning to the University of Tennessee with makeovers, music and other college hijinks.
Increasing rain and falling temperatures didn't deter the fourth hour of "Today" when it broadcast live from the UT campus, just outside Ayres Hall on the Hill. Around 600 spectators, mainly students whose mass created a sea of vivid orange, flanked the stage from where Gifford and Kotb hosted. The general public was also represented in the crowd, with fans coming as far away as Michigan just to stand in the rain to see the two women.
Among the show's guests: Pat Summitt, Derek Dooley and country star Kip Moore.
Though UT is a dry campus, Gifford and Kotb said they had been offered booze. They said they declined.
"Technically," Gifford said backstage in a hair and make-up area, "we're not allowed to drink on the job, not that we care about technicalities. But, no, we haven't (accepted the offers)."
Kotb said she'd like to have moonshine sometime.
Being told that the local moonshine is strong, Kotb quipped about any ensuing inebriation, "I like to get there. I don't like the process."
For all their talk of drinking, Gifford and Kotb say it's mainly all in jest.
"There's a big difference between downing something and sipping it on occasion," Gifford said. "All things in moderation, as they say."
The show chose UT last month for the special live feature after holding a competition that included online voting. UT beat out universities that included Ohio State, Syracuse and Creighton.
More details as they develop online and in Tuesday's News Sentinel.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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