For those of you breathless with anticipation about Regis Philbin's new co-host — c'mon, someone has to care — the long search appears to be over.
This week, The Hollywood Reporter buzzed that Philbin will name All My Children star Kelly Ripa, long considered the frontrunner because of her looks, charm, and chemistry with Reege, as his permanent co-host Monday.
According to the New York Post, the cat's out of the bag sooner than that. The Post reports that Disney registered the domain name livewithregisandkelly.com — on Jan. 10 — a clear indication that someone named Kelly is going to be live with Regis for some time to come.
Disney Enterprises Inc. is the parent company of Live producer Buena Vista Television (and also of Mr. Showbiz).
Trevor Rieger, an Oakland, Calif.-based webmaster who said he stumbled across the newly registered name during a routine search, posted the news on his Internet site, TVTalkShows.com.
Earlier this week, Philbin was still vague on the subject, saying on his syndicated show only that "one day really soon" he'd make the announcement about the new co-host.
His morning partner of 15 years, Kathie Lee Gifford, left the show in July and hasn't been back since, as decreed by the show's producers, who refused to allow her back to promote her poorly selling solo CD, Heart of a Woman.
Since Gifford left, guest hosts have included legal crusader Erin Brockovich, Survivor Susan Hawk, Broadway star Bernadette Peters, and Philbin's own wife, Joy.