Kelly Ripa's Dilemma: Why the Live Host Needs a New Pal, Not a Bestie, Sitting Alongside Her

kelly ripa cohost

In just under two weeks, Michael Strahan will doff his hat, back away from the Live With Kelly and Michael hosts’ table, and bid adieu to the show he’s called home for the last four years.

Strahan, of course, is headed for Good Morning America come September — and news of his departure blindsided his co-host Kelly Ripa and set fire to any and all warm fuzzies ABC had hoped would surround the transition. The way it all went down probably will yield a few more awkward on-air exchanges before the duo goes their separate ways, too.

Of course, once Live brings in a rotating roster of guest co-hosts to fill in alongside Ripa starting May 16, talk will inevitably turn to who deserves to have his (or her) nameplate added to the Regis Philbin Memorial Chair. In fact, there’s already been plenty of buzz about Ripa’s buddies Anderson Cooper or Andy Cohen or even husband Mark Consuelos — all of whom have pinch-hit for Strahan in the past — getting the gig.

To which I say, “Eh.”

Much of the joy of Live these last few seasons – at least as a viewer, I can’t speak for Ripa and Strahan or whether or not either/both were harboring well-masked feelings of blind rage — was watching two very funny, very charming storytellers from different walks of life get together every morning and dish the headlines, their personal lives and their take on everything from social trends to pop-culture events.

She came from soaps. He came from sports. Together, they were a zingy, unanticipated flavor combination that culminated on Sunday night with a Daytime Emmy win as Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Hosts.

The idea of Ripa’s permanent on-air partner being someone who travels in the same circles, who knows all her anecdotes (and vice versa), removes the element of surprise from those opening 20 minutes of chit-chat that makes Live such an indispensable morning staple.

What’s more, where’s the fun of Live spending the summer searching out newbies alongside Ripa only to go with somebody who’s already in her iPhone contacts under “Favorites”?

By casting its net wide and weird, Live can generate some positive summer buzz, help to erase memories of its “national nightmare” interlude and give its audience the joy of watching a daytime star hatch in front of its very eyes.

Your turn. Should Live cast someone in Kelly’s circle as her co-host? Or do you agree that it’s time for the show to take another road less traveled? Hit the comments with your thoughts!