Replacing Strahan makes for ‘Live’-ly speculation – USA TODAY

6 months ago Comments Off on Replacing Strahan makes for ‘Live’-ly speculation – USA TODAY

Live with Kelly and Michael needs two things – a new co-host and a new title – after ABC announced that co-host Michael Strahan will be moving full time to the network’s Good Morning America this fall.

As viewers – and co-host Kelly Ripa, who took some time off after the announcement – adjust to the surprise news, we thought we’d start the co-host search, or at least the speculation, regarding a new co-host for the Disney-owned syndicated talk show.

One suggestion: Conduct auditions using The Bachelorette format. It would be great for ratings, although like that show, the eventual pairing would never last and host Chris Harrison would have an unfair inside track, anyway.

In reality, on-air auditions, which have worked out well in the past, will begin in September, so here are some thoughts on who might be given co-hosting tryouts – aka the usual suspects – along with our looooooong-shot wish list. (Because Live has always featured a male-female pairing, we’ll assume ABC is looking for a guy).

Early favorites include a number of personalities who already have guest-hosted, including Neil Patrick Harris, who can pretty much do anything; CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who has shown he plays well with a female co-host (Kathy Griffin);  Ripa’s husband, actor Mark Consuelos; singer Josh Groban; Watch What Happens: Live‘s Andy Cohen; and actor Taye Diggs.

But how about these possibilities? (Oh, please!)

Guys with an opening on their calendars. Ryan Seacrest is one of the busiest guys in Hollywood, but American Idol is done and he could try to squeeze in a daytime talk show, although that would conflict with his radio show. With Community finished, former Talk Soup host Joel McHale might like the challenge of ridiculing a daytime talk show while simultaneously hosting it. Some media outlets have suggested Jon Stewart (unlikely), but we’re holding out for retired Late Show host David Letterman. He hosted a brilliant but misunderstood daytime show decades ago, has close ties to Live alum Regis Philbin and might perform Philbin’s cranky, older-guy role even better than the master, who stepped down in 2011. .

Key or Peele. Either would be great, but both are probably too busy. As a bonus, adding Keegan-Michael Key would require only a minor alteration to the show’s title. However, presidential anger translator Luther might be a bit too caffeinated for morning viewers.

Wild cards. Keith Olbermann, Alec Baldwin, Piers Morgan or Curt Schilling would allow Live to make news as well as react to it. Olbermann and Baldwin would offer left-wing perspective, but their histories suggest they might not last through an audition, let alone the full-time job. Schilling would come from the right, although his firing this week by ABC corporate cousin ESPN probably rules him out.

Athletic stars following in Strahan’s footsteps. Super Bowl champ Peyton Manning already occupies much of TV’s commercial time, so why not try the actual programs? NBA star Kobe Bryant may be looking for something to do, but his reputation for hogging the ball doesn’t bode well for a shared hosting gig.

Presidential candidates. They certainly know TV, and many may be looking for a career change this fall. Marco Rubio is young and telegenic and will need a new job in January. How about Bernie Sanders – or Larry David playing Bernie Sanders – as the cranky, older guy (see Letterman)? Or Donald Trump? Even if he gets elected and is too busy, he could phone in his appearances like he does with ABC News. Just one thing about these auditions: Please don’t use the debate format.

Replacing Strahan makes for ‘Live’-ly speculation – USA TODAY

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