Kelly Ripa Says She Would Rethink Joining ‘Live’ with Regis Philbin
Actress and TV host Kelly Ripa has been opening up about her career, specifically, her time co-hosting Live with Regis and Kelly and whether she would have accepted the job if given the chance for a do-over.
Speaking on the Not Skinny But Not Fat podcast, Ripa touched on joining Regis Philbin on Live in 2001 after his former long-time co-host Kathie Lee Gifford left the show. She mentioned how she learned of all the backstage drama in later years and how she wouldn’t have taken on the role had she known about that at the time.
“[Philbin] should not have had to have a host assigned to him. That’s not fair. He paid his dues, and he established this show, and I really advocate for him in this book,” said Ripa, referring to her new memoir, Live Wire. She noted that “it’s hard to put two strangers from two completely different generations” together for a high-caliber show. “I felt for him because he was so famous and was so well-established.”
Ripa went on to say that she didn’t realize she was auditioning for the show when she first accepted the position, believing she was just filling in. But she accepted the job when offered, though she was “hyper-sensitive to the feelings all around me.”
“I couldn’t put my finger on it,” she continued. “It wasn’t until it was sort of explained to me between these two battling forces within the company that I didn’t even know existed. I was so ignorant. I was just an actor on a soap opera. I didn’t know any of that.”
The All My Children alum said she “can’t answer” whether or not Philbin would have wanted to host the show alone but stated, “He certainly didn’t need me there.” And if she was offered the job knowing what she knows now, she said, “I wouldn’t have done it.”
“If I had known going in, I wouldn’t have done it. And how sad for me. How sad for me. Luckily, ignorance is bliss… I didn’t know that there was so much in-fighting between these two factions and that I was considered like, a network girl, which is so ridiculous. I was one of a 40-member ensemble cast on a soap opera. So I didn’t consider myself an anything of anything. I considered myself just an actor.”
Philbin, who died in 2020, eventually left the show in 2011 and was replaced by Michael Strahan. However, the former NFL player left the series in 2016 for Good Morning America. Ripa currently hosts the show with Ryan Seacrest.
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