BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - "Kelly and Jeff will be back after the break."
It wasn't so far-fetched. Well, before Jeff Probst got his own talk show, that is.
Jeff Probst, who was at the Television Critics Association tour to promote his new syndicated daytime talk show titled The Jeff Probst Show, had success as a co-host with Kelly Ripa, filling in for Regis Philbin on a part-time basis. So Probst was asked if there was any communication about him possibly taking the position full-time once Regis retired.
"I received one phone call from ABC," revealed Probst, the longtime host of Survivor. "And we did talk a little. But what I couldn't tell them is, I was already in negotiations with CBS to do a talk show."
Plunging in alongside many others trying to fill the massive daytime hole left by Oprah Winfrey, The Jeff Probst Show is a one-hour series that will air in Canada on Global, starting Sept. 10.
"You take what appeals to you and leave behind the stuff that doesn't," Probst said when asked how his show will be different, or similar, to other daytime talk forays.
"You could make arguments for every successful show. You could argue that the judge shows and the conflict shows where people are fighting do very well in the ratings. I'm not saying they're not successful shows. I'm just saying, that's not what interests me.
"What interests me is the idea of a dinner party and you invite 12 people over and then four people leave a little early and eight stay behind. This is the conversation that happens with those that stay behind."
Ripa, meanwhile, has been ripping through many co-hosts in kind of a treadmill audition process since Philbin left.
"Be patient," Probst said when asked if he had any advice for the former Regis and Kelly show. "That's what we did when we hired our staff (for The Jeff Probst Show). The mantra was, no a------- and don't panic. If we can't find the producers we want, just wait, they're out there.
"They're waiting to find the right person, just like they waited for Kelly. It's worth it. You could argue Kelly doesn't need a co-host."
Whatever happens with Ripa, Probst said working with her gave him a crash course in the genre.
"The biggest thank you I owe is to Kelly Ripa and to Regis," Probst said. "I mean, Regis is the one who said yes to letting me sit in his seat. He could have easily said, 'I donít want that guy here, find someone else.' But he didnít. And Kelly and I had this great chemistry.
"Honestly, nothing scared me. I feel so comfortable on that stage. I'm not a bulls---er. My only question is, does the audience want what we're going to do? We're going to do an hour show that hovers around my personality."
Only time will tell if The Jeff Probst Show is a Survivor.