Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Zoren: Here’s a prediction: Lachey will replace Regis as Kelly Ripa’s sidekick


Prediction: When Michael Gelman and Art Moore announce Kelly Ripa’s co-host, the name they will say is Nick Lachey.

I see “Live with Kelly” just about every day. It is one of my favorite shows, and I love the way Kelly bounced from a wobbly, self-conscious first couple of shows away from Regis Philbin to a confident, buoyant host whose personality and comic timing now dominate the show.

Kelly has been with several co-hosts since Regis departed “Live” in November. Many have been passable. Some have been outstanding.

It looks to me as if producers Gelman and Moore are bringing back the finalists in coming weeks.
I am guessing Lachey for several reasons. One is his compatibility with Kelly. Other possibilities like Dana Carvey and Martin Short don’t mesh as well. Carvey because he can’t stop himself from cutting off Kelly in mid-sentence to do a stock bit, and Short because he is not comfortable in a second banana role.

Another is his being based in New York. Short is a California guy, as are other candidates.

Lachey is available. While other great co-hosts like Josh Groban and Neil Patrick Harris have full careers, with Groban’s keeping him on the road and Harris’s demanding a lot of travel and time commitment, Lachey is free to take on a role that ties him to appearing live on a set every weekday morning.

Yes, the 9:58 a.m. end of the work day leaves room for a lot of extra-curricular activity, as both Ripa and Philbin have proven, but one still has to make being in a studio at 9 each morning a priority. Most of the guest hosts are too busy or otherwise committed for that.

Lachey is also quick-witted and great at connecting with the TV and studio audiences. Best of all, he is great at connecting with Kelly. They appear as a team. Neither dominates, although Lachey is gentleman, and scholar, enough to know his place.

I could be wrong, and probably will be, but my gut tells me Lachey will triumph, and I’m sticking with that instinct