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You didn’t really think the drama was over, did you?

Kelly Ripa on Live

Yes, Kelly Ripa returned to Live! with Kelly and Michael on Tuesday, soaking in some major applause before giving Strahan her blessing to leave for Good Morning America and saying it was time to return to “entertaining” her viewers.

But does she not realize that we’ve never been more entertained by this program as we’ve been for the past week?

Mere hours after Ripa and Strahan made nice on air, ABC released a statement in which it confirmed that Strahan is leaving for his new full-time gig four months earlier than originally planned.

His final day on Live! will now take place on May 13.

So now the question turns from just how strongly Ripa and Strahan hate each other to…

… who would Ripa love to see in Strahan’s seat this fall?

According to anonymous Us Weekly insiders, producers are giving consideration to actor Jerry O’Connell, but Ripa “hopes [Anderson Cooper] or Andy Cohen gets the job.”

Both of those men have guest hosted alongside Ripa in the past and both are real-life friends of the perky TV personality.

Both are also quite busy, with Cohen under contract with Bravo and Cooper about to enter the serious election season on CNN.

Might Kelly actually quit if she doesn’t get one of her two preferred co-hosts? Would she really walk away from a deal that some peg at $20 million per year?

Yes, Us Weekly claims.

“Unless one of them can come on, she doesn’t really want to do it,” says this source.

Of course, it’s one thing to not want to do something.

It’s another to leave so much money on the table.

Andy Cohen Snapshot
(Dan Jackman/

We have no doubt that the backstage tension is real; and Ripa is likely very displeased at the moment.

But executives are probably laughing all the way to the bank while Kelly seethes.

Because is there any doubt that ratings are set to soar throughout Strahan’s final days and the subsequent co-host search?