ABC’s search for a replacement for Michael Strahan as Kelly Ripa’s “Live” co-host has led to the door of a trio of well-known syndicated radio hosts. Both Ryan Seacrest and Mario Lopez have been mentioned as possible Strahan successors in the press. And last week Bobby Bones said on his radio show that he was considered for the job.
While all three have TV experience, co-hosting a daily talk show requires strong improvisational skills and the ability to think quick on your feet – proficiencies that are core to live radio and that many in TV lack.
Seacrest recently re-upped as host of ABC's “New Year's Rockin' Eve” for four more years and has more time on his schedule now that “American Idol” has concluded after 15 seasons. But a move to New York, where “Live” is based, would disrupt Seacrest's syndicated daily radio show which is fueled in large part by the access to stars Seacrest has from his Los Angeles base. And despite his many TV ventures, Seacrest has long kept radio a top priority.
According to a source, Bones spoke with ABC about the show a few weeks ago but the talks haven’t progressed beyond that. No stranger to TV, Bones was one of the radio personalities who guest-hosted with Ripa in January 2011 when then co-host Regis Philbin took a week off. Bones has said he’s working on a TV show. But like Seacrest, a move to New York wouldn’t mesh with his Nashville-based syndicated show.
Lopez, who launched his TV career in 1989 with the sitcom “Saved By The Bell,” did little to deflate the rumors when asked about it on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show,” saying that he finds talk of him potentially replacing Strahan "very flattering,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I love Kelly. I’ve guest-hosted with her a few times; she’s awesome," Lopez said. "I actually did a movie with her husband Mark, who’s a real good guy. I’m looking forward to going back and guest-hosting again."
All three are syndicated by Premiere Networks.
Others said to be in consideration are Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper with the latter said to be Ripa’s No. 1 choice. ABC will be auditioning potential replacements in the next few weeks, according to the Reporter, with a rotating group of guest hosts joining Ripa until a permanent co-host is named.