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Anderson Cooper has no intention of quitting his day job.
The CNN anchor, whose profile has risen amid a tumultuous election season, has signed a new long-term deal to remain at CNN, thus taking himself out of the running to be Kelly Ripa’s co-host on ABC’s Live, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Cooper informed his staff at CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 last week. He also, of course, let good friend Ripa know that he would not be joining her permanently, though he will continue to fill in on the program. Cooper’s new CNN contract does still include a carve-out for Cooper to appear on CBS News’ 60 Minutes, where he does several pieces each season.
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.
But Cooper has always maintained that CNN was his top priority. And it is a job that requires much travel. At the same time, the volatile election season has kept all news divisions busy; Cooper will co-moderate the second presidential debate Sunday with ABC’s Martha Raddatz. In the end, he deemed it would be too difficult to do both, say sources close to the anchor.
Live, which is produced by WABC, the network’s owned station in New York, is still auditioning co-hosts for Ripa. And Cooper is on the docket for Wednesday, Oct. 12. Those in rotation have included Fred Savage and Neil Patrick Harris. But Harris recently said he is not interested in the gig full-time.
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