No one ever said replacing Regis Philbin was going to be an easy process. Or a quick one, for that matter.
But nine months and 59 guest cohost tryouts after the self-referential TV stalwart signed off and ABC has finally found themselves a suitable successor, announcing today that a decision has been made as to who will become the permanent cohost of Live! alongside Kelly Ripa.
But they're still not telling. At least, not quite yet.
Instead, the network confirmed that the new cohost would be unveiled in grand fashion on the Sept. 4 broadcast of the show. As it happens, the new season kicks off Sept. 3, but Ripa will be allowed one more day of her solo swan song and will be (wo)manning that episode on her own before introducing her new partner the following day.
So who will it be? Well, a veritable revolving door of talent has made its way onto the show since Regis' departure, some actively trying out for the gig and some most decidedly not.
Neil Patrick Harris, Anderson Cooper (who effectively ruled himself out of the running thanks to his own eponymous daytime gig), Alec Baldwin, Jonah Hill, Sam Champion, Michael Strahan, Josh Groban, Jerry Seinfeld, even Daniel Radcliffe have filled in as Kelly's cohort on the show.
Still, potentially unrealistic NPH love aside, speculation has seemingly centered itself most on Nick Lachey, Seth Meyers and Ripa's own hubby Mark Consuelos as the main contenders for the job. However, Meyers himself said he had no interest in turning his frequent guest spots into a full-time gig, and Kelly ruled out making the show a his-and-hers endeavor with her husband to Vanity Fair earlier this year. So, is Lachey the last man standing?
We'll find out Sept. 4, when Kelly and whoever her new cohost are welcome guests Claire Danes and Phillip Phillips. May the best man win!