Ripa Leaves Regis Alone Again, Naturally

Regis Philbin spent months searching for the perfect co-host; now that he's found her, it looks like he's going to have to wait a little while longer before she takes a permanent seat beside him. His new sidekick, Kelly Ripa, is going on maternity leave after Friday's show.

But Ripa fans shouldn't despair; the talk show host is planning to be gone for just four weeks. Sure, Regis seems like a fun guy, but is he worth rushing back to so soon after giving birth?

"Everybody's raising their eyebrows about that," the affable host told AP Radio. "She's welcome to take six or eight or how many she needs. We understand, you know, but she wants to do it in four."

While Ripa is on leave, Regis will invite a series of college students to help him with hosting duties. We're sure that makes former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford feel great about being blackballed from the show.

Ripa took over for Gifford, who famously departed last summer after 15 years on Live With Regis and Kathie Lee. Filling Gifford's Cody- and Cassidy-loving shoes was no easy task. Reege spent months on the air with a revolving door of co-hosts, including Gloria Estefan, Isabella Rossellini, and Cybill Shepherd. The job went to Ripa, who also stars on the ABC soap opera All My Children, last February.

This will be Ripa's second child with husband Mark Consuelos, who stars with her on All My Children; they have a 3-year-old son named Michael Joseph.