'Live With Kelly' Launches Contest for Kelly Ripa's Co-Host

Kelly Coast to Coast Co-Host Search - H 2012

Kelly Coast to Coast Co-Host Search - H 2012

While Disney's syndicated talk show is still searching for a permanent co-host to replace Regis Philbin, producers are looking to find a viewer to take the seat for a day in July.

With no permanent co-host yet named for Live With Kelly, the nationally syndicated talk show is launching its latest promotional gimmick, Live’s Coast-to-Coast Co-Host Search, a contest aiming to find viewers to serve as co-hosts for a day.

It has been about seven months since Regis Philbin bid the show goodbye, and while the ratings have held up surprisingly well, it does seem to be taking a long time to find the perfect workmate for Ripa (the only person definitely eliminated from consideration so far is her husband, Mark Consuelos).

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So why not get the whole country to obsess right along with Ripa, producer Michael Gelman, production company KABC-TV and the syndication company Disney?

“Beginning on June 11, 2012, viewers can submit video entries, online or by mail, of up to 60 seconds in length, demonstrating why they should have a chance to co-host with Kelly,” according to an announcement Monday. “Participants are encouraged to be creative and show off their best hosting techniques.”

The deadline is June 29. Then 10 semi-finalists will be revealed on the show July 16. Those videos will be posted. Then five finalists will be flown to New York the week of July 16 to compete for the chance to co-host alongside Ripa on July 24.

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On July 16, all five will be seen on the show. The next day, one will be elimiinated. Then each day after that, another one will be eliminated from the competition, which will be a series of games, stunts and other things a host might have to do on the show. 

This is the first national viewer co-host search in many years, dating back to when Kathy Lee Gifford left the show and producers were searching for the person who turned out to be Ripa. There have been co-host searches among afffilated stations that carry the show and among disc jockeys. In each of those, five men and five women got a day on the show to act as co-host at a time Philbin or Ripa was away on vacation. 

Sources close to the show say this is definately not a backdoor way to seek out a new permanent co-host. That process continues. The only way for the public to tell who is still in the running is when they see a co-host brought back again and again to test their audience appeal and chemistry with Ripa.