*Sources are telling Page Six that Anderson Cooper, one of Kelly Ripa’s besties, is the frontrunner to replace Michael Strahan as her co-host.
Sources added on Tuesday that Ripa’s other BFF, Bravo’s Andy Cohen, was among those who also want the spot and “The phones were already ringing . . . every agent out there wants to get their client a shot at that seat.”
Per Page Six:
Cooper’s contract situation at CNN puts him in a prime position to take over. In 2011, “Anderson had just signed a deal to do his own daytime show,” ruling him out of the “Live” job, an insider said. His syndicated show ran till 2013, “so he has experience doing daily daytime.” Cooper’s CNN contract reportedly ends after the election.
But an ABC source said that “Live With Kelly and Michael” will look to replace Strahan “in the fall with the start of the new season. They had a lot of fun with it last time . . . It took about 10 months before they settled on Michael.” Strahan will leave over the summer.
Ripa reportedly was “blindsided” by Strahan’s departure. The network source told us, “The plan was for there to be more time between telling Kelly and the announcement. But the story leaked, the timeline got crunched.”
A different TV pro explained Ripa was keeping the troops together behind the scenes after the surprise announcement: “She was on for a long time before he showed up. He thought he was the strength of the show.” Yet another insider said Ripa “is the queen bee of the show, always has been.” More reason she might replace Strahan with a close pal. Reps didn’t comment.