Maybe Kelly Doesn’t Need A Co-Host Anytime Soon

My wife watches Live With Kelly now and then.  She used to watch it back when it was Live with Regis and Kelly until Regis Philbin ‘retired’ last year, leaving Kelly Ripa as the sole host.

Since then, they’ve had a variety of co-hosts that have come on, many multiple times.  This was the same way it worked when Kathie Lee Gifford left the show a little over ten years ago, and Kelly ended up as the co-host.

Now, she’s the star.

My wife asked me if I had heard anything about them hiring a permanent host.  I hadn’t but it was more because that’s not really my thing, but I had a theory:

Maybe the producers aren’t in any big rush to hire a co-host.



Co-hosts cost money.  And, depending on the co-host, it could cost a lot of money.

The real reason that Regis ‘retired’, as it turns out, was because he wanted a raise.  I think the producers instead wanted him to take a pay cut.  Even though the show is one of the highest rated daytime syndicated shows, the fact is that the total number of viewers continues to decline as cable TV and other networks take viewers and spread them around.

This means that advertisers aren’t willing to continue to pay more and more for spots.  This flattens the revenues, or can even bring them down if advertisers start demanding rates.

So, look at what’s happened.

They jettisoned Regis’ salary.  They likely kept advertising rates the same.

Basically, Regis’ salary goes directly to the bottom line.

Not bad.

And, in that case, why would they want to take that away?

It’s doubtful that whoever they brought in would command anywhere near what Regis was making, but at this point, zero is better than even 25% of Regis’ salary.

My guess is that they will hire someone eventually, but for now, the producers are probably just fine with keeping things status quo.

Do you watch Live With Kelly?

UPDATE: She finally chose a co-host!

13 thoughts on “Maybe Kelly Doesn’t Need A Co-Host Anytime Soon”

  1. I don’t watch it. Never have, never will.

    That is a big reason why so many of the more popular shows end up disappearing–ego. Some of the stars demand huge per-episode payouts (they don’t have an annual contract, it goes by episode) and if the studio balks, the star will walk. Other times, the actors get such big heads that they think they are bigger then “just television” and flip over to the big screen. Both happened with the cast of Friends. They wanted more money to do the show, then they each wanted to prove how big a star they were by doing films. That had mixed results, but I’m sure most people only really remember Jennifer Anniston’s work in movies.

    • I agree with you on how things sometimes work out that way, but Friends, I thought, was actually somewhat of an exception. I remember that when they went to ask for raises, every single time, they stood together. Some of the actors and characters obviously became more popular, but they never allowed any of that to matter. They all got the same pay for every episode from start to finish on that show. I think that’s one reason you never saw any of the six characters change, something that is pretty rare for a show that ran that long, and had people actually go into films. I also think that they had quite a bit of success outside of Jennifer Aniston. Courtney Cox did all the scream movies, and just wrapped up Cougar Town, which wasn’t wildly popular but ran for a few years. Lisa Kudrow did a show on showtime, I think called Nurses, that I never saw but was highly regarded by critics. Matthew Perry has been in two shows that have not been wildly successful, but he still has a certain appeal because I think he is starring in another show come fall. I don’t think you could ever expect any of them to repeat the success they had with Friends, but quite honestly, that track record is actually pretty good if you ask me.

      • David Schwimmer who I remember doing The Pallbearer and that’s all to my recollection. Matt LeBlanc was in the movie version of Lost in Space, had a small part in Charlies Angels and his own show which flopped as well.

        I don’t even watch tv anymore so I could just be out of the loop with all of this.

  2. I think I’ve watched Regis and Kelly twice in my life, BUT I completely understand what you mean about the not wanting to hire a co-host.

    I wonder if Regis leaving has affected the ratings at all.

    • I thought I read that it’s now the highest rated syndicated daytime show now that Oprah is off the air so it can’t be that bad if it did lose anything.

  3. I think there is something else to learn from this example. No individual is irreplaceable! Regis figured he was irreplaceable and look what happened!

    • I understand not wanting to be taken advantage of, and maybe that’s what it was, but at his age, he should also realize that you can’t take it with you!

  4. I don’t watch it because I have to be at work (and if I wasn’t I doubt I’d watch it either) but I think you made a great point. I wouldn’t want to hire a co host if ratings didn’t drop significantly. If revenues stay the same why bother!

    • I would expect that at a certain point the rotating guest hosts could get annoying to viewers and to Kelly, so at some point it probably will have to be resolved. Unless they feel that Kelly is strong enough to anchor the show, but given the times I’ve seen, I think it would likely work best with a partner.

  5. I haven’t watched the show with just Kelly. I did used to watch Regis and Kathie waaaay back in the day with my grandmother. It was a fun tradition that every time I went to visit her we’d watch the show.

    • That’s fun. My memories of that type of show were with The Price Is Right. There’s a TV in the work kitchen, and if I happen to be in there washing dishes or making lunch and nobody else is in there, I’ll always flip over to TPIR for a few minutes!

  6. Wow! I can’t believe that they haven’t found anyone yet. I completely agree with your theory on why there’s still only one host — surely not all of the guest hosts have refused to negotiate for a full-time spot. Good job ABC.

    (I used to love this show when I was in HS)

    • I’m sure many of the guest hosts just like the exposure and probably would have no interest in turning it into a full time gig.

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