Kelly Ripa Gives Update on ‘Live!’ Co-Host Search, Calls Anderson Cooper ‘The One That Got Away’

Jackie Willis
Entertainment Tonight

Kelly Ripa admits that Anderson Cooper was her top pick to replace Michael Strahan as her permanent co-host on Live!, but now she's considering some other candidates.

The 46-year-old TV personality appeared on Wednesday's Watch What Happens Live with Cooper, and referred to the 49-year-old CNN newsman as "the one that got away" when talking about him co-hosting the daytime talk show. "Anderson re-signed with CNN, but he would have been your number one pick, right Kelly?" WWHL host Andy Cohen asked.

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"He's my life. He really is," Ripa replied. "He's the one that got away and keeps getting away and gets away all the time."

It's been six months since Strahan left Live! to take a full-time role at Good Morning America, but Ripa told Cohen that there's no rush to announce his replacement. "We really didn't set a time frame for ourselves, we just wanted to wait until we found the right person," she explained. "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."

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"We've had a great time," Ripa added. "I have to say I feel really lucky and really embarrassed at our good fortune."

Offering more insight into who Live! might be considered for the role, Cohen and Ripa played a game of "Hosty or Not Hosty," where she candidly judged potential sidekicks. Ripa approved of Billy Bush -- who recently left the Today show -- as a co-host possibility, as well as the Kardashian sisters, Kathie Lee Gifford, Lindsay Lohan, Ramona Singer and even Andy's beloved dog, Wacha.

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Live! is taped in New York City, but now that Ripa's husband, Mark Consuelos, is filming Pitch in Los Angeles, there was some speculation that the show would relocate. "I have not heard that rumor. That sounds like a rumor I would start, but I did not hear that rumor and I can't imagine [it would happen]," Ripa said. "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."

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