Who Should Replace Michael Strahan on ‘Live With Kelly’? Casting Director Weighs In

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan
Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan on 'Live with Kelly and Michael' in New York on Friday, May 13, 2016. David M. Russell/Disney ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution

And the search is on! Michael Strahan said farewell to his cohosting gig on Live With Kelly & Michael on Friday, May 13, and the hunt is well underway for Kelly Ripa’s next partner-in-crime.

Jen Rudin, an award-winning casting director and the author of Confessions of a Casting Director, sat down with Us Weekly to chat about her top picks for Strahan’s replacement.

“You want a guy with a great personality who can also be lovable because you’re watching the show every day and that’s how I feel about anybody I watch on TV — I want to love them, have them in my living room or on my phone or wherever I’m watching them,” she tells Us.

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan
Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan on 'Live with Kelly and Michael' in New York on Friday, May 13, 2016. David M. Russell/Disney ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution

Read on to find out her takes on some of the industry’s top contenders.

1. Kevin Hart

The Ride Along 2 actor has been having a great year, having just chested the MTV Movie Awards and hitting the big screen opposite Ice Cube in the sequel to their 2014 Blockbuster hit. “We know the likability factor when we see it,” Rudin says of Hart. “It’s one of those things in casting, we can’t even explain it. For me, it’s somebody that is so likable and watchable and so charismatic that you don’t want to take your eyes off of them. … Kevin Hart would be a dream.”

2. Mario Lopez

The former Saved By the Bell star has made a name for himself as a host on Extra, but according to Rudin, his infectious energy could also do well on Live. “Mario Lopez is a great idea because he’s a lot of fun and has a great personality. I think I would just vote for somebody that’s super likable and that you would want to be watching every day on your TV.”

3. Anderson Cooper

Ripa’s longtime friend Anderson Cooper shuttered his own daytime talk show in October 2012, but has been a familiar face and a rumored candidate to fill Strahan’s shoes. “It would be a switch, but I also think that people end up getting stereotyped into what they do and don’t do … but a story is a story,” Rudin says.

Kevin Hart, Anderson Cooper and John Cho
Kevin Hart, Anderson Cooper and John Cho Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Robin Marchant/Getty Images; Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com

4. Craig Ferguson

The late night host has helmed The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and his experience behind a desk could do well on a morning show, Rudin says. “I think he definitely comes with all that experience too because you want to have somebody who’s worked in that type of television before who can feel comfortable and put people at ease,” she explains.

5. Kobe Bryant

Strahan came from the world of sports, and Kobe’s recent retirement from the basketball court could make him an intriguing candidate for the job. “That’s always exciting because then you’re bringing in a whole other group of viewers,” Rudin says. “Then suddenly you’re getting in a whole other demographic of guys who are going to tune in and watch.”

6. John Cho

The veteran actor has been making headlines recently as part of a social media trending hashtag, #StarringJohnCho, to bring more awareness to the lack of diversity in the media. “He’s been around, but he’s probably got some stuff happening too with his career,” Rudin says of the possibility.

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