Talk show host Kelly Ripa's speed dating approach to finding a new co-host doesn't seem to be going anywhere, fast.
Word has it the field is still wide open. And my sources are excellent.
LIVE! has been super fun as the search rages. Just like a Presidential Campaign or others in the media have called a daily morning of THE BACHELORETTE. You could even harken back to THE NEWLYWED GAME or THE DATING GAME.
Meg big names like Jerry Seinfeld and relatively unknown names only heard in New York City circles, such as 43 year old Canadian born New York 1 anchor, Pat Kiernan, who appeared Monday and will appear again Tuesday. This, Kiernan's second go-round with Kelly, showed his deadpan humorous style. LIVE! has a huge Canada based viewership.
Since Thanksgiving, Kelly's sat next to actors Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris, Taye Diggs, Ms. Ripa's husband, Michael Consuelos, actor/comedian Jerry O'Connell, musician Kevin Jonas, HBO sports anchor Bryant Gumbel, Canadian born mega singing star Michael Buble` along with, pun intended, a host of others.
According to my sources, the talents the LIVE! decision makers want, aren't interested as full time co-hosts and the co-host wannabes, well, those same decision makers aren't interested in them sitting in that co-host chair next to Ms. Ripa on a full time basis. Fill in, only, please.
Interestingly, anyone who sits next to Ms. Ripa gains that "Kelly Ripa glow". Even if they don't get the gig, it launches careers. I've watch it happen first hand.
According to Ripa, who spoke to The Gothamist Monday directly after the show ended, the person who will sit in that chair needs to be "natural and funny".
Now, that's something the former soap opera star knows how to be, in spades. She grinds out the show daily and is never worse for wear. Amazing energy, talent and vibrancy. Ripa shows each guest co-host great respect and she gives each one a fighting chance. Ripa is an amazing pro. I am sure that reflects on her years as a soap opera star.
The way the show is set-up, Ripa must have a co-host or else they would have to drop HOST CHAT, the first twenty minutes of the show. That format works. Don't fix what isn't broken.
Replacing Regis Philbin really has not been an easy task.
The special person needs gravitas, the hutzpah, be a conversational on any topic, big or small, and at the same time be incredibly funny.
The hype does not hurt the show.
Who would you like to see sitting next to Kelly every morning?
I have a couple thoughts. I want to hear yours.
Does the co-host have to be a guy? The most valued asset is chemistry.
Kelly hosted the TV LAND awards Sunday night with ease, especially when she appeared in the CAT WOMAN suit.
Who has the same versatility?
The decision makers don't want to simply settle.
"It's purrrrfect," Ripa purred as she hosted TV LAND, a pre-taped show that aired last night.
But it's been less than "purrrrfect" finding the right co-host for LIVE!
No preconceived candidates say sources. Just like a recipe, ingredients matters.
Anyone who does not know that Ms. Ripa is the star of LIVE! won't survive the first day because the audience simply won't Kiernan told The Gothamist right after co-hosting the show on Monday that "There was an ease with Kelly now so it was more fun and less trying to think about the process today" compared to his first go round with LIVE! With Kelly. Kiernan said he spent more time thinking about conversation and less time on being armed with information. "My process at NY1 is to cull through everything and thin it down and jam as much in as possible. Once I realized that I had more than enough to talk about, there's no sense in finding 10 more items to talk about." Then asked by The Gothamist what qualities make him a potential fit for the show, Ripa said, "He's a morning creature, so that's good. You can't come to halfway through the show. With him being such an early riser, I feel like he's at lunchtime when he's doing our show. He's great with news items and knowing what's in the news and in the newspapers, which is a big part of our show as well. And he's just a natural conversationalist -- he's very easy to talk to."
On Tuesday, Kelly recommends Pat "do exactly what he's doing -- be himself."
When asked how long until Kelly and Pat 'seal the deal', Ripa immediately told The Gothamist, "let's not get ahead of ourselves. We're not going to jump the gun -- we're not going to rush into anything now."
As I said, the word is there is no one co-host candidate with an inside edge and that means this process could go on for a very long time.
If I produced LIVE! I would wrangle comedian Ricky Gervais because the entertainment value of watching Kelly trying to keep Gervais from saying or doing anything that will bring in the FCC censors would be wonderful.
Another host I'd tryout would be the brilliant, witty and highly versatile ABC News correspondent Nick Watt who can talk about anything as well as entertain with a sensational as well as wonderful charm. Watt has that knack for finding the humor in anything as seen on Good Morning America.
Another co-host candidate must be GMA weather anchor Sam Champion who has a hearty laugh and already has a strong working relationship with Kelly.
I would also try out several women.