Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Finalists for Philbin's Job: Seacrest, Cohen, Consuelos?

Please ABC, don’t make Ryan Seacrest the new Regis Philbin.

The Hollywood Reporter is saying the search for Philbin’s replacement on Live! has been narrowed down to three: Seacrest, Andy Cohen of Bravo and Mark Consuelos, an actor and co-host Kelly Ripa’s husband.

Candidates Cohen, Seacrest and Consuelos.
The ubiquitous Seacrest is dull as a post.  I fast forward through his time on American Idol.  Besides, he’s everywhere already  – disc jockey on KIIS-FM in LA, host of E! News, host of American Top 40, producer, etc.  As South Carolina radio comedy writer Jim Crossan told me, “On various radio and TV shows, Seacrest has replaced Rick Dees, Casey Kasem and Dick Clark; does he need ALL the jobs?”

I’m not a big fan of Andy Cohen, either.  I have found him to be extremely full of himself, even obnoxious, but I’ve spoken with others who disagree.  A friend and colleague, Eileen Conley, said she’s watched him on a number of outings subbing for Regis.  She thinks there’s great chemistry between Ripa and Cohen and that, together, they’re very funny.

There’s no question about the chemistry between Consuelos and Ripa.  They are cute together and have a good on-air rapport.  But maybe they’re too close for comfort.  Would they get boring after awhile?  I can’t imagine that a married couple who spend a good deal of time together already would find something new to bring to the table morning after morning.  Any married person knows there is potential for dull moments. 

And, what about those mornings when they’re not pleased with each other?  Perhaps those days would make for good entertainment – and gossip column fodder.  But maybe not.  Viewing a couple’s personal life up close could become uncomfortable, even smarmy.  Remember Kathy Lee Gifford and her, “Cody, Cody, Cody diatribes?"

So who does that leave?  Anderson Cooper has been great as a fill-in, but he’s getting his own talk show.  Others have suggested Jeff Probst, but he’s great on Survivor.  Now that Michael E. Knight is out of a job as Tad Martin on All My Children, he might be a good candidate (he’s also been a sub for Reege).

It will probably, however, be Andy Cohen.  But, Regis is a tough act to follow, even at 79 years old.  ABC should not be safe; it should search until it finds the perfect person.  The show has been pretty high caliber for its more than 25-year run and Philbin doesn't leave until November.  Careful selection is both warranted and reasonable within the time frame.

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