Ripa Soaps Up Again for New Sitcom Spot

03/21/2003 AT 11:00 AM EST

Don't tell actress Kelly Ripa that art is imitating life. Ripa -- now a co-host of "Live! With Regis & Kelly," but for years a regular on "All My Children" -- is close to inking a deal to star in a new sitcom as, ahem, a washed-up soap star, notes the New York Post. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Ripa, who is on maternity leave after giving birth recently to her third child, will keep her morning-show gig, the paper says. In the new ABC sitcom, called "Faith and Hope," Ripa will play a newly unemployed soap actress, Faith, who moves in with her family-oriented fraternal twin sister, Hope.

One studio exec tells the paper that Ripa was "pie-in-the sky casting," but ABC Entertainment president Susan Lyne said Ripa was "really our only choice for this role."

Ripa has been two-timing co-host Regis Philbin for a while. Though she reluctantly gave up her "All My Children" role to focus on the talk show, she made her prime-time debut as a limited-run character on the NBC series "Ed."
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