'Live!' Contest Winner Continues to Charm Viewers When He Returns as Kelly Ripa's Guest Co-Host
By Jackie Willis
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Pennsylvania high school teacher Richard Curtis admitted that he was between "fantastic and 'wake up, Richard, you're dreaming'" when he returned to guest co-host Live! With Kelly on Monday morning.
Curtis was the winner of the daytime talk show's co-host search and beat out thousands of entrants for a chance to sit next to Kelly Ripa. The 30-year-old educator was such a hit as a guest co-host last month that he was invited back.
Sporting a new haircut, Curtis said he got the call asking him to come back to Live! in the middle of a school day and "thew a chair up in the air" with excitement. "It's amazing how daytime talk shows have taken over the school," he quipped.
While Curtis has become quite the local celebrity in his town, he noted that a drink was named after him at a local restaurant, his 5-year-old daughter was not so impressed with her father's new gig. Curtis recalled that his little girl told her grandmother that "it's not like he's on the Disney Channel."
It's already shaping up to be a big week for the teacher-turned-co-host, as he celebrated his six-year wedding anniversary on Sunday. "I wouldn't be sitting in this chair if it wasn't for my wife," he said as cameras panned to his smiling spouse in the audience.
Ripa noted that she started on Live! when she had been married for six years to Mark Consuelos.
Curtis also got the chance to interview Divorce's Sarah Jessica Parker and Supernatural's Jared Padalecki alongside Ripa. “I feel like you’ve secretly being doing talk shows for, like, the last 10 years,” Parker gushed. “It’s really quite something.”
The school teacher has won over more than just Live! viewers since making his television debut. A source close to the show told ET last month that the executives "really" like Curtis, and "he's definitely in the running" to replace Michael Strahan as Ripa's permanent sidekick. The source added that Live! executives especially "love that he is a guy who came out of nowhere and really charmed everyone."
While Curtis has been a natural on the show, the source also told ET that the higher-ups "are being cautious because he’s unproven."
"He doesn’t have the background of a Jerry O’Connell or Fred Savage," the source explained. "Still, they really like him and are eager to see more from him. They love that he could go from being a school teacher to a daytime talk show host. They think that’s a really cool story."