February 5, 2001 -- "She's here and she ain't leavin'!" Regis Philbin said this morning, confirming that his new Live With Regis co-host will be All My Children star Kelly Ripa.
Ripa, who plays Hayley Santos on the ABC soap, was one of many temporary partners for Philbin since Kathie Lee Gifford left in July. "It became obvious to everyone that Kelly Ripa should be the one here on a permanent basis," Philbin said.
The soap actress will continue to act on All My Children, which prompted her to joke to Regis, who also hosts ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, "I think it's like an ABC policy — you must work two jobs."
"Between the two of us, we've got 40 percent of the schedule covered. If we go down, ABC is over," joked Philbin.
The thunder of the announcement was stolen last week as news of Ripa's selection leaked out in the trades.
Ripa will need another replacement soon, however. She and husband Mark Consuelos, who's also an actor on All My Children, are expecting their second child in four months. Ripa announced her pregnancy during a guest spot on Live in November.
Consuelos was in the audience during this morning's show. He joked that he'll be changing his name to "Mark Ripa," prompting Philbin to quip that he may soon be forced to change his name to "Regis Ripa."
Ripa's permanent co-hosting duties begin Feb. 12. Regis rounds out this week with the last of his temporary co-hosts, including Gloria Estefan and Isabella Rossellini.