- Kelly Ripa opened up about how she came to co-host “Live! With Regis and Kelly” alongside Regis Philbin.
- In his book, “Live Wire,” Ripa said the contract negotiations were “small.”
- Ripa said she was “ordered” to use Philbin’s hair and makeup team, among other things.
Kelly Ripa revealed the behind-the-scenes details that led her to join “Live!” in 2001 as co-host of Regis Philbin.
Ripa, known for her role as Hayley Vaughan on the soap opera “All My Children,” served as a guest co-host before landing a full-time job on the talk show. After Kathie Lee Gifford’s release in July 2000, a search began for a replacement co-host.
In her book, “Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories,” published Tuesday, Ripa said she noticed “a change in mood” when she returned to “Live!” to co-host for the third time. The actress said she “received a list of reminders” ahead of her appearance.
“My agent said they didn’t want me bringing an entourage to the studio,” wrote Ripa, who was pregnant with her second child at the time. “He said there had been complaints. It confused me as I had only brought Richard and Doreen, my hair and makeup team.”
“I would definitely never be asked to co-host again,” she said. “I wondered what I had done to bring about this drastic change because, like all women, I blamed myself.”
Ripa said that afterwards, Angela Shapiro, then president of ABC daytime, told her that the network wanted to make her an official offer to become the new permanent co-host.
Ripa wrote in his book that there was a rift between the network (ABC) and the show’s local affiliate (WABC). The Emmy-winning host said she told Shapiro she wasn’t thinking about people on “Live!” including Philbin, loved him.
Ripa said the job offer came with a disclaimer: “They want to make sure you know who your boss is.”
Ripa recalls discussing the offer with her husband Mark Consuelos, who told her the job would offer “better hours and more money.” Ripa said that on the phone with her agent, she was told of a long list of “deal breakers”.
“The list would have been comical to anyone in the entertainment industry if they had listened,” Ripa wrote. “I thought they were petty, for lack of a more precise description.”
“Usually the breaking point in any negotiation comes down to money, which has also been the case, but the leaders of ‘Live!’ were also willing to blow the deal up on much smaller issues. I’m talking about the most basic basics,” she explained.
“I was not allowed to use my own hairstylists and makeup artists,” Ripa said.
“I can’t say enough how standard it is to have a dedicated makeup and hair team on any show, let alone a team named after the ‘talent,'” she said. for follow-up. “But it was the number one deal breaker and the biggest flashpoint of my entire contract.”
According to Ripa, her small crew also weren’t allowed to do their hair and makeup on the “All My Children” set before the talk show tapings “even though I paid for them myself.”
“I was ordered, yes ordered, to use Regis’ hair and makeup team,” she said. I pushed back that it didn’t make sense for me to go to the second studio, wash my face and hair, and do it all over again for the soap. They insisted it was a deal breaker because “Live!” had a very specific look. We laughed at the absurdity of thinking what that look could be.”
Ripa added that much to her relief, the show’s makeup artist and hairstylist turned out to be “talented” and “welcoming.” But there were other points of contention in the offer.
Ripa said that “there would be no wardrobe services or budgeting”, which, she said, “never happens on any show”. Also, there would be no paid maternity leave and she was not allowed to have an office (“I just had to have my own cubicle”).
Additionally, Ripa said his name “had to be smaller than Regis’ name on the ‘Live!’ title card and branding. A game of thumbs, which speaks for itself. But on that, we agreed.
Ripa accepted the job offer and the show was renamed “Live! With Regis and Kelly”.
She and Philbin worked side by side until his retirement. After his last show aired on November 18, 2011, Ripa became the show’s leader. Various celebrities stepped in as guest co-hosts until former NFL player Michael Strahan was selected as the new permanent co-host in 2012.
He left the show four years later, and Ryan Seacrest has been Ripa’s co-host since 2017.