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Ripa’s a pip for ABC laffer

'Live' host in negotiations for 'Hope' pilot

HOLLYWOOD — Gab queen Kelly Ripa is headed for primetime, closing in on a deal to star in a new Touchstone-produced comedy for ABC.

Ripa, who gave up her gig on Alphabet sudser “All My Children” last year, is finalizing a deal to play a former soap star in the net’s laffer pilot “Hope & Faith.” Should the pilot be picked up to series, Ripa will remain as co-host of Buena Vista Television’s “Live! With Regis & Kelly,” splitting her time between the chatfest and the sitcom, both of which are owned by Disney.

Skein will be shot in Gotham to accommodate Ripa’s schedule.

In the pilot, Ripa’s newly unemployed character of Faith will move in with her non-pro fraternal twin sister Hope (Faith Ford). Latter character is married with kids, and the differences between the two siblings will be at the heart of the show.

Joanna Johnson wrote the pilot and serves as co-exec producer. Emile Levisetti, Michael Edelstein and Keith Addis are exec producer on the project for Industry Entertainment, which is producing the show with Touchstone.

Touchstone prexy Steve McPherson said the studio approached Ripa a few weeks ago, almost on a lark.

“Kelly was pie-in-the sky casting, and we’re lucky she responded to the role,” he said. “Joanna Johnson wrote a fantastic script with two great characters, and finding the right cast was tough.”

McPherson said landing Ripa, who snagged solid reviews earlier this season for her guest appearances on NBC’s “Ed,” repped an “incredible opportunity” for the studio.

“She’s an established soap star and TV personality, and bringing her acting to the sitcom world is going to be amazing not just in terms of promotion but also what she brings to the screen as an actress,” McPherson said.

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