Kelly Ripa: I'm 'So Excited' for Kathie Lee

04/04/2008 at 06:30 AM EDT

Kelly Ripa: I'm 'So Excited' for Kathie Lee
Ripa (left) and Gifford
Sara Jaye Weiss/Startraks; Jordan Strauss/WireImage

Kelly Ripa

Kelly Ripa

You think there'd be a little professional rivalry between Kelly Ripa and Kathie Lee – but you'd be wrong.

In fact, Ripa – Regis Philbin's current cohost – could not be more thrilled for her predecessor, who just landed a co-host gig on the fourth hour of NBC's Today show.

"I'm so exited for her," Ripa, 37, gushed to PEOPLE Thursday. "Everybody's like, 'Have you ever met her?' I'm like, met her? I know her intimately! I'm so happy for her."

The two women worked together on an episode of Ripa's now-defunct sitcom, Hope & Faith, but Ripa says she was a fan of Gifford, 54, from her early days on Live with Regis & Kathie Lee.

"She's very influential in my life," said Ripa, who replaced Gifford on the show in 2001. "I saw her doing it all – a working mom. She had a big impact on me."

Happy Homemaker

These days, it's Ripa – who's married to actor Mark Consuelos – who's known as the quintessential working mother (to Michael, 10, Lola, 6, and Joaquin, 5). That might explain her newest role, star of a spring ad campaign for Electrolux kitchen appliances. (She's also helping the company raise cash for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.)

As an added bonus, the company hooked her up with a kitchen full of new goodies. "It's gorgeous," she said.

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