kelly-ripa-co-host-anderson-cooper-pics-gi.jpgKelly Ripa has made no secret of her love for pal and guest co-host Anderson Cooper, but will her affinity for him translate into a new job for Anderson as Regis Philbin’s replacement on Live! With Kelly?

“We have a connection like nobody else,” Ripa tells Us Weekly. “I worship him!” 

But, of course, Cooper has a couple of other shows keeping him busy, including his CNN show “Anderson Cooper 360” and his syndicated talk show “Anderson Live,” so “the search continues,” Ripa says.

Since Philbin left the show in November, Ripa has had a rotating roster of co-hosts like Nick Lachey, Josh Groban, Jerry O’Connell, Seth Meyers and Ripa’s husband Mark Consuelos. Right now, Groban and Meyers are said to be the frontrunners for the permanent gig. Ripa will announce the new seat-filler on Live! With Kelly on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Interestingly, one dark-horse candidate — if you believe this solved blind item from Blind Gossip — is none other than Philbin himself.

The item reveals about Philbin: “He would certainly be ratings-grabber, but we don’t know how much longevity he would have on the show, and the producers really want someone for the long haul.”

Posted by:Jennifer Harper