- Kelly Ripa detailed how she came to co-host “Live! With Regis and Kelly” alongside Regis Philbin.
- In her book, “Live Wire,” Ripa called the contract negotiations “mean.”
- Ripa said she was “ordered” to use Philbin’s hair and makeup equipment, among other things.
Kelly Ripa opened up about the behind-the-scenes details that led to her joining “Live!” in 2001 as regis philbinco-host of .
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. Following Kathie Lee Gifford’s departure in July 2000, she began a search for a replacement co-host.
In his book entitled “Live Wire: long-winded short stories,Released Tuesday, Ripa said she noticed “a change of atmosphere” when she returned to “Live!” to co-host for the third time. The actress said she was “given a list of reminders” before her appearance.
“My agent said they didn’t want me to bring an entourage to the studio,” wrote Ripa, who was pregnant with her second child at the time. “She said there had been complaints. This confused me because I had only brought Richard and Doreen, my hair and makeup team.”
“I would certainly never be invited to co-host again,” he said. “I wondered what I had done to bring about this drastic change because, like all women do, I blamed myself.”
Ripa said that afterward, Angela Shapiro, then-president of ABC Day, told her that the network wanted to make her an official offer to become the new permanent co-host.
Ripa wrote in her book that there was a split between the network (ABC) and the show’s local affiliate (WABC). The Emmy-winning host said she told Shapiro that she didn’t think about the people on “Live!” including Philbin, she liked him.
Ripa said the job offer was accompanied by a warning: “They want to make sure you know who your boss is.”
Ripa recalled discussing the offer with her husband Mark Consuelos, who told her the job would provide “better working hours and more money.” Ripa said that over 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 been listening,” Ripa wrote. “I thought they were insignificant, for lack of a more precise description.”
“Usually the breaking point of any negotiation comes down to money, which also happened, but the executives at ‘Live!’ they were also willing to blow up the deal for much smaller issues. I’m talking about the most basic of basics,” he explained.
“I wasn’t allowed to use my own hair and makeup people,” Ripa said.
“I can’t express how standard it is to have a dedicated hair and makeup team on any show, much less one named after ‘talent,'” she continued. “But this was the number one deciding factor and the most important critical point of my entire contract.”
According to Ripa, her small crew was also not allowed to do their hair and makeup on the set of “All My Children” before the talk show tapings “even if I paid them myself.”
“I was ordered, yes, I was ordered to wear Regis hair and makeup equipment,” he said. I rejected that it didn’t make sense for me to have to go to the second studio, wash my face and hair, and fix everything for the soap. They insisted it was a deal breaker like ‘Live!’ it had a very specific look. We laughed at the absurdity of 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 there would be “no wardrobe services and no budget,” which, he 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 that her name “had to be smaller than Regis’s name on ‘Live!’ title card and brand. An inch game, which he speaks for himself. But on that we agreed.”
Ripa accepted the job offer and the show was renamed “Live! With Regis and Kelly”.
She and Philbin worked together until he retired. After her last show aired on November 18, 2011, Ripa became the show’s director. 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 co-hosted Ripa since 2017.