Kelly Ripa didn’t pick Nick Lachey, so VH1 did. Guest hosting Ripa’s live TV show landed Lachey on VH1 hosting the weekday “Big Morning Buzz Live” from Times Square starting at 10 a.m. Monday.
“VH1 saw me co-hosting on ‘Live with Kelly,’ and reached out to my management team. It was definitely a good experience working with her,” said Lachey, 40, a frequent fill-in on “Live with Kelly” until Michael Strahan replaced Regis Philbin.
It’s a logical career step for the 1992 School for Creative & Performing Arts graduate after hosting “The Sing-Off,” “The Winner Is” and “Clash of the Choirs” for NBC, and doing other reality TV shows around his music career. He replaces Carrie Keagan, host since the 2011 premiere.
“I’m looking forward to being myself, and injecting my personality in the show,” he said.
In MTV Networks’ old “Total Request Live” studio, Lachey will interview actors and musicians; chat about pop culture; do lifestyle (cooking, exercise, fashion, relationships) and comedy segments; and introduce a live music performance.
Singer Adrienne Bailon (“The Chetah Girls”), actress Sophia Bush (“Chicago PD”), entertainment reporters Jack Rico and Jackie Miranne (talking about the Oscars) and The Fray are scheduled to appear on his Monday premiere.
“We’re the only morning show to do live music every day,” Lachey said. “We going to take questions live from Times Square. I hope to get down there every day. We’ll have kind of a late-night sensibility in a morning show, and have fun with it.”
For how long? Only 15 weeks for now. Lachey won’t commit beyond June 14 until he and wife Vanessa learn if Fox renews her “Dads” sitcom filmed in Los Angeles. Production wrapped two weeks ago, perfect timing for Vanessa and 18-month-old Camden to move cross-country with him.
“I couldn’t take any job and be away from my family that long,” said Lachey, who also has a home here. Since fall he has enjoyed being a stay-at-home dad in Los Angeles. “I’d get (Camden) up every day and feed him breakfast. Now she can take over, so this works for us.”
Lachey fans also will hear him sing on the show. And here’s another big buzz: His solo “Soundtrack Of My Life” CD in the works since 2011 should be released this fall, he said. The “songs that grabbed me from movies when I was growing up” include Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia,” the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” and Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”
No more 98 Degrees reunions are planned this year. It took more than a year for the band members to clear their calendars for the 2013 CD and tour, Lachey explained.
“We’re taking a pause,” he said.
And by summer he’ll know where he’s headed after his “temporary residency” on VH1.
“I’ll see if I enjoy this, and go from there,” he said.
“This business is an unpredictable one. My career has taken so many twists and turns, I’ve given up trying to predict where it’s going to go for me.” ■