Possible Regis Successors: Ryan Seacrest, Mark Consuelos, Andy Cohen?

By Alex Weprin 

With “Live! with Regis and Kelly” co-host Regis Philbin set to leave the show in November, the search is on to find his replacement. The Wall Street Journal this morning floats three interesting possibilities. The WSJ names Ryan Seacrest, Bravo executive/talk show host Andy Cohen and actor Mark Consuelos has three names being bandied about by executives. Consuelos also happens to be the husband of “Live!” co-host Kelly Ripa.

The names are not without problems, however. Both Cohen and Seacrest have long-term contracts with Comcast, Seacrest to produce and host shows, and Cohen to develop and host programs. Comcast may be OK allowing an occasional guest-hosting gig, but to move to Disney/ABC full-time might be problematic, and contractual issues could present a problem.

Consuelos does not appear to have that problem, but he does not have the hosting experience that the other two men have.

Still, with Philbin in place until November, Disney executives don’t sound like they are in any hurry:

A spokeswoman for Disney-ABC declined to comment, saying that because Mr. Philbin isn’t expected to leave the show until November, “it’s ridiculous at this point to be speculating about who will replace him.”

The show’s organizers plan to reboot “Live With Regis and Kelly” once Disney-ABC executives find a new anchor, say people familiar with the situation. The program’s ratings have been relatively stable, but it must fight to remain relevant within daytime television’s rapidly shifting landscape nonetheless.