It’s been more than four months since Michael Strahan left Live! and Kelly Ripa still hasn’t found a permanent replacement co-host. Mario Lopez has been one of the people consistently rumored to join Ripa every morning, but is there any truth behind the gossip? Now, Lopez is setting the record straight.
Earlier this year, during an appearance on Ellen, Lopez refused to confirm or deny rumors that he was being considered for the Live! co-host job. However, during a new interview with The Huffington Post, Lopez finally spoke out on whether or not he may be a permanent addition to Live!
“No, I mean, those were flattering and very sweet, but I’m here in L.A., and I’ve already got a couple jobs and my family here. But she’s awesome,” Lopez told The Huffington Post, speaking of Ripa. “I’d love to go back and hang with her anytime.”
Lopez currently hosts Extra and a radio show in Los Angeles, keeping him plenty busy. Plus, his wife, Courtney Mazza, and their two young children, Gia and Dominic, all reside in Southern California.
More: Don’t expect Kelly Ripa to announce a Live! co-host anytime soon
However, it may not have been Lopez’s choice to forgo the Live! gig. Lopez was reportedly taken off the table a few months ago, after he used the co-host race as a self-promotion opportunity, according to Page Six.
“It’s a highly coveted job,” an inside source told Page Six back in July. “There’s no other show where the co-host gets to have their name in the title of the show — you don’t get that kind of prominence. That’s why they’re leveraging [their place in the race]. Just being in the mix is helpful to their careers and reputation. Well, Rob, Jeff and Mario are not getting the job.”
Apparently, it annoyed both Live! and Extra producers that Lopez was publicly lobbying for the job.
“It was infuriating [Extra executive producer Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey] that he kept hinting and being coy about taking the Live role. He retweeted 23 fan tweets suggesting him for the gig in July alone, then played coy when he was asked about it on Ellen,” a source close to the show reportedly told Page Six. “The fact that he didn’t deny it from the beginning infuriated [Gregorisch-Dempsey]. She felt anything other than a flat-out denial looked bad for the show, as if he was trying to get away.”
However, a rep for Extra told Page Six they were never worried about losing Lopez and confirmed he’s definitely not taking a gig with Live!, saying, “Mario signed a deal to be with Extra for the next three years, so he’s not going anywhere.”
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