College Senior to Keep Regis Company

04/08/2003 01:00PM

He's no former soap star, but Andy Beckman, a 22-year-old senior in telecommunications at Indiana's Ball State University, will get to sit in Kelly Ripa's chair next to Regis Philbin on April 16.

And by April 17 he'll be outta there.

Beckman won the high-profile, one-day-only gig in a contest to help Reege cohost the morning talk show while Ripa, 32, is on maternity leave, the Associated Press reports.

Ripa has been gone since the February birth of her third child, Joaquin Consuelos, but she is expected to return to the air in early May. (She and her husband, actor Mark Consuelos, also have a 5-year-old son, Michael, and a 1-year-old daughter, Lola.)

"To have this happen is absolutely incredible," said Beckman, who was winnowed down from 5,000 to become one of 10 semifinalists who were auditioned in Los Angeles. ("Live" is broadcast from New York.)

The semifinalists were then boiled down to five contestants, who were tested on-air with celebrity interviews, cue-card readings and man-on-the-street sessions. Viewers voted on the final decision.

Beckman also walks away with a $10,000 prize and a development deal with Buena Vista Television (a subsidiary of Disney, which owns ABC).

"He has a great energy, great personality and he comes across as very likable," said "Live" producer Michael Gelman.

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