It's been several months since Kathie Lee Gifford stepped down as cohost of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. Since then, the show, which adopted the new name Live with Regis, paraded in a host of different co-stars to fill her shoes. Those co-stars have included regular folks and non-celebrities to Broadway stars like Bernadette Peters to soap opera stars --- including All My Children's Kelly Ripa. In the end, though, the decision was apparently an easy one.
"Kelly Ripa should be the one" to succeed Gifford, said Regis Philbin in a press conference on Monday.
In front of a swarming media, Ripa said that she's known that the job was hers for at least two weeks. ABC Daytime President Angela Shapiro phoned the actress just before she was slated to go on vacation to break the news to her. Just a few minutes later, Ripa's agent called to give her the official word.
Initial speculation that Ripa would take on the new job as sidekick to "Reege" came when a tabloid leaked word that Ripa was the frontrunner for the job. At that time, Ripa had co-hosted the show on a temporary basis about three or four times. On January 10, Disney Enterprises, Inc. registered the web site domain name "livewithregisandkelly.com."
The site is currently not live.
All My Children fans need not worry that Ripa will bow out of her role as Hayley Vaughan, a role she originated in 1991. In fact, even Ripa's co-stars are a bit concerned about her future with the show.
"A ring of terror went through me," said actor David Canary (Adam and Stuart Chandler), who plays Ripa's father on the show. "She's not going to leave our show?!"
Live is filmed just down the street from the All My Children studios, so Ripa would not need to relocate or be forced into bowing out of AMC. Live is, as its name suggests, broadcast live every day. It's brief shooting schedule, says one industry insider, will not necessarily interfere with Ripa's All My Children schedule.
A typical soap opera day involves line-learning and blocking, or a brief run through of the lines so that the cameras will know which angles to shoot from, until about noon every day. After an hour or so for a lunch break, the final taping of the day's episode begins. By that schedule, Ripa would have about three hours to make the transition from talk show hostess to soap opera star.
"It's a great gig," said Ripa of her new second job. "It's a lot of fun. You don't have to think --- [Regis] does all the work.
Asked if she'll chat up her family like her predecessor, Ripa bashfully admitted that she probably would. "I don't think that you can be a parent and not talk about your children on the show," Ripa laughed. Ripa is married to her All My Children co-star, Mark Consuelos (Mateo). The couple has son, Michael, together and they are expecting their second child in the spring.
Ripa begins as permanent co-host on February 12. She insists that she will remain on All My Children, but admits that her role will become "less prominent."