Currently solo “Live!” host Kelly Ripa, whose former co-host Michael Strahan vacated his co-hosting spot in May, revealed a list of potential candidates for his replacement on “Watch What Happens Live” on Wednesday.
She admitted to “WWHL” co-host Anderson Cooper that he was her top choice to replace Strahan, but also named several others who could potentially take the chair next to her.
Ripa, 46, joked that Cooper was “the one that got away.”
“He’s my life,” she said. “He really is. He’s the one that got away and keeps getting away and gets away all the time.”
“We really didn’t set a timeframe for ourselves, we just wanted to wait until we found the right person,” she continued. “What we didn’t anticipate was that we would have such an outpouring of interest. Our list got very long very quickly. We’ve been trying to keep it as narrow as possible, but then people pop up.”
Some of the candidates for co-host that Ripa wouldn’t rule out include Billy Bush (who recently left the “Today” show amid the Donald Trump “grab her p***y” scandal), the Kardashian sisters, Kathie Lee Gifford, Ramona Singer and even troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan.
WATCH BELOW: The Kelly Ripa-Michael Strahan debacle
Live! is filmed in New York City, but lately there have been rumours that the show might relocate. Ripa says that’s most likely not going to happen.
“I have not heard that rumour,” she said. “That sounds like a rumour I would start, but I did not hear that rumour and I can’t imagine [it]. We’d have to do the show at 6 a.m. and getting guests to come on at 9 a.m. can be challenging. So, 6 a.m., I think, would be out of the question.”
Ripa was shocked at the initial news that Strahan was leaving his post to co-anchor “Good Morning America”, claiming she wasn’t told by the network or Strahan about his decision with enough advance notice. She says she was only told about Strahan’s September 2016 move to “GMA” less than an hour before the news about his promotion leaked to press.
Ripa abruptly took a week off of “Live!” following Strahan’s announcement to deal with what she felt was a slight; she received a personal apology from top executives at Disney and ABC after the incident, who said they “expressed regret for the way Kelly was told the news.”
“I needed a few days to gather my thoughts,” she said, explaining her absence. “After 26 years with this company, I earned the right.”
Ripa said the mishap was important because it opened up a conversation with ABC about mutual respect. Despite it all, she has had time to digest the situation and holds no hard feelings against the show, Strahan, or the executives.
“I’m not dealing with monsters,” she said. “I don’t think of anybody as a monster or out to get me. But sometimes stability and dependability can be misinterpreted as passive. Like, ‘Oh, we don’t have to worry about her, she’s fine. She’s fine.’ And I am fine, but I need assurances that we’re all going to be fine.”
Ripa has been a co-host of the show since 2001 when she shared the screen with Regis Philbin.
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