Retired racing legend Jeff Gordon has zoomed to the top of ABC’s short list to succeed Michael Strahan as Kelly Ripa’s new Live co-host, TVLine has learned exclusively.
Gordon has experience sitting alongside Ripa. During the Live With Regis and Kelly era, he served as Ripa’s sidekick nine times. (He even did a stint opposite Reege in 2001 before Ripa came on board).
He most recently appeared on the show in June 2015, but just as a guest.
Since retiring from professional stock car racing in 2015, the 44-year-old Gordon has transitioned into broadcasting (he currently serves as a Fox NASCAR analyst). Should he snag the Live gig, his career path would closely mirror that of the man he’d be replacing; Strahan, who exited Live last month for a full-time gig at Good Morning America, also segued into broadcasting after retiring from the NFL.
Live is expected to continue pairing Ripa with a parade of guest co-hosts until a final decision is made later this summer. Other names in the permanent co-host mix include former Grinder star Rob Lowe and Ripa’s BFF Anderson Cooper.
Regarding the Gordon buzz, a Live rep tells TVLine, “Lots of rumors out there, but we don’t comment on co-host speculation.” Gordon’s spokesperson, meanwhile, also declined TVLine’s request for comment.
Sneak a peek at one of Gordon’s previous Live co-hosting stints, and then hit the comments with your thoughts on his candidacy!