When Regis Philbin retires later this year, Kelly Ripa is going to be in need of a new cohost. There are some obvious choices — Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen, Neil Patrick Harris and Carson Kressley all regularly fill in for Regis when he’s on vacation. But if producers of Live! With Regis and Kelly make the smart choice and pair her with a gay cohost, we have 10 suggestions that would reinvent this show for a whole new fan base.
Sean Hayes — Fresh off a successful yearlong run in Broadway’s Promises, Promises, Hayes is going to be looking for a new gig — and we can’t think of a better medium for his zany brand of humor than daytime television.
Ross Mathews — Chelsea Handler is said to be developing a talk show for Ross Mathews, but who’s to say the former Tonight Show “intern” couldn’t handle two gigs?
Ryan O’Connor — He's currently competing on Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star, but if things don’t pan out between the musical theater star and the big “O,” he and Kelly Ripa might just make a good duo.
Tammy Lynn Michaels — Sara Gilbert is currently racking up ratings talking about her home life and raising kids on CBS’s The Talk. Maybe Live! With Regis and Kelly is ready for a little face-lift. After all, who better to talk about raising kids than Melissa Etheridge’s ex?
Nate Berkus — Oprah protégé Nate Berkus has seen his talk show struggle in the ratings. Maybe pairing him off with an equally attractive, sunny personality would be the key to making him a staple on daytime.
Suze Orman — Kelly Ripa wouldn’t get away with half of her inane banter about couture, clutches, and shoes with Suze Orman at her side. Besides, Suze might provide a strong, informative yin to Kelly’s yang.
Tim Gunn — If an interior designer doesn’t quite fit the bill, Tim Gunn’s dry sense of humor and flair for fashion would surely make mornings with Kelly all the more interesting.
RuPaul — Currently enjoying a bit of a career renaissance thanks to RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ru proved himself to be one helluva talk show host with his VH1 show in the ’90s. Kelly is obsessed with reality TV, and assuming Ru could commit to getting his drag on by 8:30 a.m., these two would make a lethal pair.
Liz Smith — Sure, Liz Smith is almost a decade older than the departing Regis, but few people know gossip like Liz — and gossip just happens to be Kelly’s favorite topic. Even if Liz can’t commit to the daily grind, she’d be a terrific correspondent.
Johnny Weir — Johnny proved he can hold his own with cohosts on last winter’s short-lived Skating With the Stars. And something tells us Kelly Ripa would hang on his every word.
Kathie Lee Gifford — OK, so Kathie Lee is not gay. But if you’ve watched her on the final hour of Today with Hoda, you know she might as well be. Considering she knows the routine, who wouldn’t tune in for some early morning cocktail chat with Kathie Lee and Kelly?