Following last week's intense speculation, All My Children soap star Kelly Ripa was officially sworn in as Regis Philbin's new co-host during Monday's airing of Live with Regis.
Buena Vista Television-distributed Live will be re-christened Live with Regis & Kelly beginning Feb. 12. Opening Monday's broadcast, Philbin said, "You know we tried out a lot of people, including you. It just became obvious and evident to everybody that Kelly Ripa should be the one here on a permanent basis."
Separately, BVT president Janice Marinelli added, "There's no one else like Regis Philbin and our #1 goal was to find the perfect person to sit next to him on `Live.' We've found that person in Kelly Ripa who jumps off the screen."
Considering Ripa already has a daytime fan base from ABC's All My Children - a gig that she will continue to hold down while with Live - her long-term pairing on the ABC-skewing syndicated strip does makes sense.
After 10 previous co-hosting appearances, Ripa does seem comfortable bantering with Philbin, arguably the signature ingredient to Live.
"I think it's like an ABC policy that you must work two jobs," joked Ripa. "You have this and Millionaire.I have this and All My Children."
Philbin answered back "Between the two of us, we have 40% of the schedule covered. If we go down.ABC is over!"
Ripa, who has one three-year old son and another baby on the way, is reminiscent of family-focused Kathie Lee, something that's not lost on Philbin.
"So what did you do last weekend? How is the baby?," he asked before turning to face the camera. "Yes, we're talking about babies again.Get used to it!"
- Susanne Ault