Anderson Cooper Out of the Running to be 'Live! With Kelly' Co-Host, Staying With CNN

by Jackie Willis 8:35 AM PDT, October 05, 2016
Playing Anderson Cooper Out of the Running to be 'Live! With Kelly' Co-Host, Staying With CNN

Anderson Cooper has taken himself out of the running to be Kelly Ripa's permanent Live! co-host.

A source close to Cooper confirms to ET that the 49-year-old TV anchor will be staying with CNN, where he currently hosts the news program Anderson Cooper 360, and is no longer being considered to replace Michael Strahan on the daytime talk show.

WATCH: Kelly Ripa and Anderson Cooper Adorably Perform Grease Dance While Backstage at Live!

A source close to Live! also tells ET that Cooper was Ripa's "first choice" to co-host alongside her, but "he was never a frontrunner for executives who oversee the show."

Another source at Live! tells us that Cooper hasn't been up for the job in months.

Ratings for Cooper's CNN show have been great through this election season, and the cable news network is all for keeping him on as a face of the channel, a source close to the journalist's CNN negotiations tells ET. The source adds that Cooper's role at CNN will also expand to include big specials and more election coverage. While the source isn't privy to Cooper's salary with his new CNN contract, it's believed to be upwards of $10 million a year.

In June, a source told ET that Cooper -- who's hosted Live! several times since Strahan's departure in May -- had made it clear to executives that he would like to do both Live! and his nightly CNN show if offered the chance.

WATCH: Kelly Ripa Hilariously Auditions Jimmy Fallon to Be Her New Live! Co-Host

While on Watch What Happens Live in April, Cooper also responded to rumors that he was considering joining the show. "Look, I'm very happy at CNN," he told WWHL host, Andy Cohen, who was also rumored to be considering the job. "It would be a dream to work with Kelly, but nobody's offering anything."

A source close to Live! told ET in September that the ABC program was in no rush to find a permanent replacement. "The show is going to stick to doing a round robin shuffle of guest co-hosts for the time being," the source explained. "Kelly likes the dynamic right now, so they’re not in a hurry to make a decision anymore."

Other names that have been thrown around to co-host Live! include Rob Lowe, Fred Savage and Alec Baldwin, but a source told ET that the show doesn't plan to name a replacement until November.

WATCH: Kelly Ripa Makes 'Big Announcement' About Her Live! Co-Host