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Louisville, Ky. (WDRB) -- Live! with Kelly will eventually be Live with Kelly and someone else. That has always been the plan, and the revolving door of guest hosts is just part of finding the right person to join Kelly Ripa each weekday morning.
"What do you want? What makes good chemistry?" asks WDRB's Candyce Clifft.
"For me, chemistry is always very hard for the person in the situation to judge. That's more for the audience, because I can't tell. I'm a Libra. I don't know if you follow astrology at all, but I feel like I get along with everyone. So, everybody who's there that day is my favorite," says Ripa.
Ripa says she's looking for someone who is a natural conversationalist and someone who relates to the audience, but she says the decision is too important to be left up to her.
"I feel like I should have input," says Ripa, "but it's a must bigger decision than just me because the audience has to factor in. They have to love the host. Gelman has to love the host; all of the producers have to love the host; the network has to love the host. Everybody has to love the host, not just me."
It's certainly hard not to love Ripa. She's genuinely excited about her job... calling it a dream job everyone should have.
Ripa says, "I really am genuinely interested in the people I'm talking to. I really am genuinely excited to watch careers take off and launch and maybe be a small part of it."
In commercial breaks, Ripa jokes with her audience, then quickly gets back into place just before the cameras ar e on again. While people across America might envy her job, it's likely they can easily relate to her life.
"We get up early, earlier than I would need to for my job," Ripa says. "My kids get up, we solve several crises about what Lola will wear to school that day. We have breakfast as a family. I try to read a little bit of the newspaper as the kids are finishing up. My older boy takes the bus to school. I drop the other two off on my way to work. It's very normal. It's not like, Steven Tyler comes over and we..." she laughs.
She admits she still gets starstruck when she gets a tweet from a celebrity or runs into someone famous in a restaurant.
"Oh my gosh, look at what I do for a living!" Ripa says. "I get to talk to celebrities."
Clifft points out that Ripa is a celebrity, herself, but Ripa replies, " No, I'm hardly...I'm not."
Ripa says, in the afternoon, she crashes.
"I find that it takes a lot of energy to stay 'on' and pay attention to time cues and the plugs you have to get out," she says. "My afternoon consists of: please, somebody remind me that I have to pick up the kids at two instead of three today. Because I just feel like something has to give somewhere, and that's where it gives for me."
She admits she's still getting comfortable in the roll she's held for more than a decade.
"I still have a hard time looking directly into the camera. People always accuse me of of looking.. they're like, what are you looking at?" Ripa says. "I'm not sure what I'm looking at. I prefer to look to people in the audience than to look into the camera. As an actor, you never break that fourth wall. And, 99 percent of my job now is to look directly into the camera. So, it's almost like staring into the sun for me. It's weird. It's so weird for me."
Still, her audience relates to her as celebrity watcher, mom, and girl next door. She even offered to pay me a visit for the Kentucky Derby.
"Well, come see us. You are welcome anytime," Clifft says.
"I will," Ripa replies. "I'll just stay at your house. I have three kids, you have three kids. What could be bad? My 14-year-old is very responsible. He could watch them all, and we could just go have mint juleps."