Jan. 19, 2011 -- They don't make 'em like Reeg anymore.
On Monday, after Regis Philbin announced his plans to retire later this year from "Live With Regis and Kelly," one question quickly popped into the minds of America's TV-watching masses: "Who can replace Regis?"
The answer: No one. Like Larry King, who vacated his marquee show in 2010 after 25 years, Philbin comes from a bygone era of broadcasting.
He cut his teeth in the 1950s, when the number of television channels was less than ten, not four digits deep. He maintained his likability in part because he didn't have the TMZs of the world tailing him as he became big. He didn't quarrel with his cohorts; he's pretty much universally regarded as a good guy.
But, as they say, the show must go on. While there may not be anyone in today's television arena who can fill Philbin's shoes, Kelly Ripa's got to share her coffee with someone. Below, a look at ten potential candidates for the job:
Mark Consuelos. Ripa's husband has often filled in for Philbin. A soap opera star with impossibly white teeth, Consuelos and Ripa make a lovely on-air pair. But will upbeat husband-wife banter be too cute for some viewers to stomach in the morning?
Anderson Cooper. Another favorite Philbin fill-in, with his "Live" stints, Cooper shows that his less-serious side is as watchable as his CNN fare. But there's a scheduling conflict: Last year, Cooper inked a deal to debut his own daytime TV talk show in fall 2011.
Alec Baldwin. He's got the gravitas, the gait and the grays of a man who knows the ins and outs of the entertainment industry. And he's funny. While Jack Donaghy fans might be loathe to see the "30 Rock" star move to daytime TV, watching him grill celebrities and the people who want to be them could make up for it.
Kathy Griffin. No, she's not a man. But the always outspoken Griffin could provide the ideal foil to the perfectly poised Ripa. Her Bravo series is going off the air -- she could use another gig. (Of course, she'd have to keep her New Year's Eve antics to a minimum.)
Bryant Gumbel. Gumbel has long served as a replacement for Philbin, but he flexed his morning show celebrity interview muscle long before that. Gumbel was a co-host of "The Today Show" for 15 years.
Neil Patrick Harris. Harris has shared many a cup of coffee with Ripa when Philbin's been out. Their on-air chemistry leaps off the screen. But Harris has a sitcom -- "How I Met Your Mother" -- and a full-fledged acting career to consider.
Mario Lopez. "Saved by the Bell" stud-turned-entertainment-host extraordinaire, Lopez is building the resume of a career presenter. In addition to serving as "Extra's" celebrity co-host, he hosts the MTV dance competition series "America's Best Dance Crew" and has hosted multiple Miss Universe, Miss America and Miss Teen USA pageants.
Mark McGrath. Once best known as the punky-haired singer of the popular '90s rock band "Sugar Ray," McGrath cleaned up his image to co-host "Extra" from 2004 to 2008. While he reportedly left the show to focus on his music career, the "Live" opening could lure him back into the TV game.
Jeff Probst. Like Harris, Gumbel, Cooper and Consuelos, Probst has warmed Philbin's seat many a time. Considering he's spent more than a decade corralling the sweaty, tired, warring contestants of "Survivor," it stands to reason that Probst has the wherewithal to interview shiny, happy stars on a regular basis.
Ryan Seacrest. With his radio show, "American Idol" hosting gig, E! News anchorship and uber successful production company, Seacrest is on 24/7. He's all but inherited Philbin's reputation as the hardest working man in show business -- maybe it's time for him to inherit Philbin's job, too.