Andy Cohen is taking a seat alongside Hoda Kotb all week long while Hoda's fourth hour co-host, Jenna Bush Hager, remains out on maternity leave. But on Tuesday’s show, Hoda gave the "Watch What Happens Live" host a reason to jump out of that seat, as she surprised him with one of his favorite famous faces.
“She’s over there,” Hoda teased, gesturing to a silhouette just off set. “She’s waiting to come out and make your morning.” All Andy had to do was guess the identity of the hidden star.
“Clue No. 1: This person competed in ‘Dancing With the Stars,’” she said. “Clue No. 2: This person has great genes. Her mom’s 102.”
And then, before she could even finish reading off the third hint, her excited guest host shouted out his guess — again and again.
“Susan Lucci! Is it Susan Lucci?! Is it Susan Lucci?! Is it?” he asked.
The Daytime Emmy winner, who played the part of Erica Kane on “All My Children” for more than 40 years, stepped out from behind the screen to show him he had it right.
“I knew it!” he said as he jumped up to greet her. “I know that silhouette!”
And anyone who'd tuned into the show a couple of hours earlier knew exactly why he was so thrilled to see her. In addition to being her fan and friend, Andy had just mentioned her.
While sitting in on the fun during PopStart, the topic of meeting big stars came up, and Andy asked the anchors: “Anyone that freaks you out? Or left you in awe?” For him, the answer was an easy one.
“The first time I met Susan Lucci,” he said, smiling. “It’s always your first.”
Sitting face-to-face with Lucci later, he offered the backstory of that awe-inspiring meeting.
“I interviewed her when I was in college,” he explained. “I sent her a letter out of the blue. I had an assignment in newswriting and reporting class at Boston University. I was like, ‘I either want to interview Susan Lucci or Sam Donaldson — both who excel in hair for different reasons.’”
Andy was just 19 or 20 at the time and had grown up watching the soap opera icon on the small screen.
“She was my first diva,” the Bravo honcho added.
Lucci got that letter and said he “jumped right off the page.”
“I called my publicist and said, ‘The first day I have a long lunch hour, I think I can do this,’” the 72-year-old recalled.
Then, Andy explained Lucci took him to lunch on Manhattan's Upper West Side.
It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship!