Cue up speculation that Kelly is flirting with ABC News – Live with Kelly being syndicated by ABC-parent Disney, and a timeslot competitor to NBC News’ cash cow Today show.
In one of those incredible coincidences, word of the booking on the significant election-cycle morning broke the same day Fox News interim CEO Rupert Murdoch gave an interview to his newspaper Wall Street Journal, to publicly announce Kelly is important to the network and he hopes to get her under contract “very soon,” while sending her a message, adding, “we have a deep bench of talent, many of whom would give their right arm for her” timeslot.
Ripa has been paired with co-hosts since ABC News recruited Michael Strahan to join Good Morning America full time. CNN’s biggest primetime star Anderson Cooper (a Ripa pal) has co-hosted the show often.
Appearing earlier this month at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker called Kelly, who contract comes up next year, “a tremendous news anchor,” noting the TV news industry is her oyster. Currently making about $15M a year, she’s reportedly looking for $20M, ballpark, which, given the shorter on-air life-expectancy of female news talent, seems reasonable.
Kelly even has become her own storyline in the presidential election cycle. It started when GOP hopeful Donald Trump said he could “see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” during the first GOP debate. That was when she’d asked him a question about how he talks about women. Just today Trump publicly praised surrogate/Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich for attacking Kelly on her primetime show. Gingrich blasted Kelly for being “fascinated” with sex, to the exclusion of talking about public policy, when she brought up Trump’s Access Hollywood tape boasts and the the women who have accused him of groping them, while discussing his polling.
It will be Kelly’s first time co-hosting with Ripa, and is no doubt intended to showcase the Fox News Channel star’s other talents. Similarly, in April, Kelly hosted a primetime celebrity-interview special for Fox broadcast network, EP’d by the same exec behind Barbara Walters’ celebrity-interview specials.