Not coincidentally, NBC News confirmed this long-speculated information shortly after Kelly Ripa, star of ABC’s Live with Kelly! that airs at 9 AM in most markets, unveiled her new co-host: Ryan Seacrest.
NBC News’ decision to confirm this long-reported time slot today suggests it will let no Ripa news go unmatched with a headline of its own, speaking to the importance of the slot to the networks.
NBC News is saving – no doubt to confirm on a future Ripa headline day – whether Kelly’s new show will be part of the Today franchise, or stand alone, bookended by Today‘s 7-9 AM Matt Lauer/Savannah Guthrie-hosted mothership program and Today‘s 10 AM Happy Hour With Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.
NBC’s 9 AM hour, currently part of the Today family, previously was hosted by Billy Bush, who got the hook when that old Access Hollywood hot-mic tape went viral, in which Donald Trump boasted to Bush about his ability to assault women with impunity.
Kelly’s 9 AM NBC program won’t debut until the fall, but her Sunday newsmag for NBC News is debuting in June, battling CBS’ 60 Minutes. So expect to see her make a splashy appearance at NBC’s Upfront Week presentation this month – though NBC News won’t confirm that either.