Kelly Ripa Co-Host: Anderson Cooper Returns To ‘Live!’ Despite Long Term CNN Contract

Kelly Ripa’s co-host hasn’t been announced but has she found one in Anderson Cooper? As we know, it’s been said that Ripa loves Anderson Cooper, and she saw him as a favorite to get the gig, but that seemed to have crashed and burned when Cooper renewed his contract with CNN.

As the Inquisitr reported, Anderson Cooper looked like he was the frontrunner to replace Michael Strahan at Live! for months. Anderson was coy about the opportunity as he was tested in front of audiences as a guest co-host, but it was assumed that he was comfortable in front of daytime audiences. Then, just when it looked like he was a shoe-in for the gig, Cooper resigned with CNN. The news of his deal with CNN hit in October, which made Anderson responsible for continuing to anchor Anderson Cooper 360, as well as making guest appearances on 60 Minutes.

That said, Anderson Cooper has been back as Kelly Ripa’s co-host since the news of the extended gig was announced. It sounds like Cooper just can’t leave a good thing despite his commitment to CNN. It begs the question if Anderson Cooper is willing to add another gig to his already full plate? While we don’t know if Anderson has worked something out with his schedule for sure, it doesn’t look likely based on all of his prior commitments.

Cooper’s choice to stick with CNN instead of jumping ship to ABC must have hurt a bit for Kelly Ripa. Even though Cooper has returned for several guest co-hosting gigs since he renegotiated his deal, it’s been widely reported that Cooper was Ripa’s favorite for the gig very early on.

As for Kelly Ripa’s co-host spot, this isn’t the first time Anderson’s name has been brought up. Even before Michael Strahan was hired, Ripa was trying to get the silver fox in place.

According to the Hollywood Reporter,“Cooper was Ripa’s top choice to replace Michael Strahan. And given the way ABC handled Strahan’s departure in favor of a full-time gig at Good Morning America, Ripa may have had enough leverage to get her way. Cooper was also her choice back in 2012, but executives convinced her to get behind Strahan.”

As for the other front runners for Live! it’s been a mixed bag. According to ratings, Megyn Kelly, Jimmy Kimmel and Empire’s Jussie Smollett have all scored really well with audiences, but you can’t stand on ratings alone. Charisma is a big factor, and it seems like Kelly Ripa and Anderson Cooper had it in spades. Other popular guest co-hosts include high school teacher Richard Curtis, actor Jerry O’Connell, and actor Fred Savage.

That said, don’t expect Kelly Ripa’s co-host to be announced anytime soon. According to a report by E! News, the co-host could wait “as late as May” to be inked to a permanent gig with Live with Kelly! If this seems like a huge gap in time, it’s because it is, but ABC seems to be taking advantage of their unusual situation. While they’re biding their time finding someone who clicks with audiences, viewers, and Kelly Ripa, they’re also reaping the benefits by upping their ratings for the veteran show.

As the Inquisitr reported, a rep from Live with Kelly! confirmed that they’re in no rush to ink anyone’s deal. “We’re happy with how things are going so far with the co-host search. There is no timeline for the selection of the new co-host.”

Who do you think will be Kelly Ripa’s co-host?

[Featured Image by Mark Davis/Getty Images]