he Wall Street Journal reports that ABC has narrowed down the list of contenders to replace Regis Philbin, who will vacate his Live With Regis and Kelly co-hosting job this fall. The three finalists are reportedly Ryan Seacrest, Ripa’s husband Mark Consuelos, and Bravo executive Andy Cohen. Which potential host has the best shot at occupying the stool alongside Kelly Ripa? Here, the arguments for and against all three:
"The snappy Seacrest is an obvious red herring," says Megan Angelo at Business Insider. He already earns a reported $55 million a year from American Idol, his radio show, hosting on the E! channel, and producing various television shows — all of which are "based entirely on the west coast." (Live films in New York.) Still, Seacrest has "plenty of experience under his belt," and "Hollywood connections" that would benefit the show, says Kate Stanhope at TV Guide. But when it comes down to it, "doesn't this guy have enough jobs already?"
"Who better to share a cup of coffee with Ripa than the man she wakes up next to every morning?" asks Stanhope. Plus, he's guest-hosted the show alongside his wife many times, with fans giving "rave reviews to the couple's banter," says Kathleen Perricone at the New York Daily News. While Consuelos can't match Seacrest's hosting experience, he's the odds-on favorite, says Angelo. Live's "loyal audience" is "invested" in his marriage, and already thinks of Consuelos as "another character on the show." The one thing standing in his way? Ripa herself. Asked by David Letterman if they would be good co-hosts, Ripa replied, "I think we would kill each other!"
Though not as recognizable of a name as his two competitors, the Bravo executive has on-camera experience as the "ringmaster" of the Real Housewives reunion shows, and host of the late-night talk show Watch What Happens Live, says Stanhope. A frequent guest on Live, Cohen has "great chemistry with Ripa," and the two are already "personal friends," says Catherine Lawson at Aol. But after Cohen blossomed "from office drone to reality star," Angelo says, would NBC Universal — which owns Bravo — allow him to move to ABC at the "peak of his popularity?" It "seems unlikely."
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