Anderson Cooper is reportedly the frontrunner to replace Michael Strahan on “Live! With Kelly and Michael.”
The CNN anchor is also a good friend of Kelly Ripa’s, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Michael Strahan announced his exit from the show on Tuesday so that he could work full-time on “Good Morning America” cast. The announcement blindsided Ripa, who is said to feel “betrayed” and “very upset” by the sudden development. Ripa was in the dark when this occurred, several sources connected to the situation explain.
“It’s likely Kelly will bring up Anderson’s name as a replacement,” a source tells ET.
Another source claims that Cooper is “definitely interested” in replacing Strahan.
The only caveat might be that he needs permission from CNN to be a co-host on ABC.
Another contender for the co-host slot for “Live!” could be Neil Patrick Harris. He’s proven himself as an actor and has great hosting skills.
“Producers loved Neil Patrick Harris when they were looking before,” a production source shares. “He was a frontrunner, and he has less going on now than he did three years ago during the search that ended with Michael getting the gig.”
Anderson Cooper had also been named as a possible co-host for “Live! with Kelly” after Regis Philbin’s retirment from the show in 2012.
The report notes that Strahan leaving “Live!” wasn’t surprising, but happened much sooner than anticipated.
As for why Strahan left the show, sources tell ET that the decision was not exactly surprising.
— Page Six (@PageSix) April 20, 2016
“He just has so much other stuff going on … he was losing interest,” a source told ET, referencing his multiple appearances on “Good Morning America” and Fox Sports.
“‘Live!’ was never going to be a forever job for him,” another source adds.
“Good Morning America” is offering Strahan more opportunities, more money, and more of the type of stories he’s interested in covering. He’s not replacing anyone on the morning program, but is being added to the cast’s roster. He appeals to viewers and loves connecting with people, another source explains.
Insiders tell ET that there was also tension between Strahan and Ripa — as well as between long-time “Live!” executive producer, Michael Gelman.
“Michael and Kelly have not been getting along recently,” one source tells ET. “They got along great in the beginning — but not so much lately.”
However, Strahan had nothing but positive things to say about his time at “Live!” in his statement on Tuesday; he thanked Ripa personally.
“My time with ‘Live! With Kelly and Michael’ has been transformative, and my departure will be bittersweet,” he said. “Kelly has been an unbelievable partner, and I am so thankful to her and the entire team. I am extremely grateful for the amazing support I’ve received from all of the fans.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the incredible team at GMA,” he added. “It is an exciting opportunity to be able to bring unique stories and voices to the audience.”
Would you like to see Anderson Cooper co-host alongside Kelly Ripa on “Live!”?