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Kelly Ripa on Early Challenges at 'Live': "It Was Not a Cakewalk"

Kelly Ripa

Kelly Ripa might be a daytime mainstay on Live with Kelly and Ryan, but her early years in the talk-show genre weren't easy. The All My Children alum is reflecting on her career in her new memoir, Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories. She recently spoke to People about writing about the period in her life when she joined Live as Regis Philbin's co-host.

Ripa mused:

That was the hardest chapter to write. I don't want to feel like I'm slamming anyone or that I'm being disrespectful. But I also want people to know it was not a cakewalk. It took years to earn my place there and earn the things that are routinely given to the men I worked with. Including an office and a place to put my computer.

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When Ripa's agent called his client with the offer for Live, she recalled, she was told that they wanted her to know her boss was. Ripa dubbed that "ominous." She was also informed that she should not bring an entourage, so she only brought a hair stylist and makeup artist with her on her first day. When she arrived, Philbin reportedly quipped to EP Michael Gelman:

Uh-oh, Gelman, it's got an entourage.

Ripa went on to describe how her relationship with Philbin had plenty of ups and downs over the years. She also recalled some of the special moments she shared with Philbin off-screen. 

However, in 2017, Philbin informed Larry King that he felt offended that he was never asked back to Live after his 2011 retirement. Ripa told People that Philbin did, in fact, appear in a 2015 Halloween episode. She added:

The show had reached out many times. It makes me sad but it's not something I will ever understand. I was steadfast in my attempt at communication. You can't make a person befriend you.