Who will fill Regis Philbin’s seat on ABC’s Live! with Regis & Kelly?
Here are 10 names making the industry rounds as potential pairings for Kelly Ripa. Some of these celebrities been previously reported and others are new. At least a couple, we’re told, are non-starters. ABC, unfortunately, has no comment. Here’s what we think:
— Ryan Seacrest: You can’t have a major talk show vacancy without his name coming up. He could clearly handle the job. The trick (as is the case with several names below) is working around his existing deals.
— Jeff Probst: The Survivor host is a superb interviewer, he has co-hosted the show in the past, and his contract is up this year.
— Mario Lopez: Another former Live! co-host. We’re told he’s potentially a popular contender, but that his deal with Extra may hold things up.
— Chris Harrison: The Bachelor host is already in the ABC family. If he can handle crazed bachelorettes, surely he can work with sweet Kelly, right?
— Mark Consuelos: Yup, Kelly’s husband. He’s an actor and reality show host. We’re hearing he’s an unlikely choice.
— Chris Cuomo: The 20/20 host is another ABC insider.
— Anderson Cooper: Woulda-coulda-shoulda. He’s busy trying to get his own daytime talk show off the ground.
— Billy Bush: Like Lopez, there’s an entertainment news program deal to work around — this time, with Access Hollywood.
— Neil Patrick Harris: Considered a fantastic substitute co-host on the show. But would he want the gig?
— Mike Rowe: Now this is an interesting name. The Dirty Jobs host and Deadliest Catch narrator has a ton of female fans. Could this blue collar man’s man pull off the celebrity bantering and hamming it up with Kelly? Why, this could be his toughest job yet.
Bonus: Here’s some names floated by other publications that we think are silly: Nick Jonas, Bryant Gumbel, Glenn Beck, Tom Bergeron (Okay, Tom’s not bad, actually), and Larry King.
And, yes, all those who are supposedly being considered are men (though one publication did mention Jane Lynch).
Keep in mind that when Kathie Lee Gifford left Live, similar lists circulated the media as producers began to reach out to prospective talent. And you know who wasn’t named on any of those lists? Kelly Ripa.