regis philbin kelly ripa live getty 'Regis and Kelly' producer on new co host: It's all about 'chemistry'With Regis Philbin’s retirement from his talk show less than two months away, the only question on viewers’ minds is “Who will fill Philbin’s chair?”

Well, according to the “Live with Regis and Kelly” executive producer Michael Gelman, they’re not sure yet. And they have no plans to rush the process of finding a permanent co-host to sit alongside Kelly Ripa.

“We’ll do what I call ‘dating,'” Gelman tells TV Guide. “We’ll have different guys come and we’ll try them out, check their chemistry. We’ll see how they work with the format and how the audience reacts. And it’s easier to get audience feedback in this day and age with social media.”

There’s been no shortage of speculation as to who will take over the seat next to Ripa. Ideas span from her husband Mark Consuelos to Ryan Seacrest to Mario Lopez. Gelman adds that they’re exploring all options.

“We’re trying not to pigeonhole ourselves,” he says. “We’re trying to think out of the box and keep our mind open. It could be a woman, or a person you might not have even heard of. We don’t know who it’s going to be.”

This is not uncharted territory for the long-running morning talk show. They went through a similar process when they replaced Philbin’s long-time sidekick Kathie Lee Gifford. Rather than picking a co-host and going with it, they did a series of what could best be described as “on air auditions” before landing on Ripa.

While Gelman’s certain audiences will miss Philbin, he’s optimistic about the program’s future.
“People feel this is a big loss,” Gelman says. “But at the same time they’re giving us the benefit of the doubt. The show has really been a part of pop culture. And it will survive.”

Posted by:David Eckstein