Ripa feels the love of TV Land Awards

Fashion is calling, and Kelly Ripa is running late because of it.

"Sorry if I was distracted," she says during an interview to talk about "TV Land Awards" at 9 tonight on TV Land, of which she is host, "but I'm trying on something."

Running a production company, raising her three children, stealing moments with her husband and hosting "Live with Kelly," her nationally syndicated talk show, fill up Ripa's schedule already. She doesn't really have time for much else.

Even the fitting she's doing in the middle of an interview is for the awards show. But she admits she's back to headlining the TV Land Awards because she was able to fit it in, quickly and efficiently.

"I'm a child of the '70s, and that was it. Television was everything" back then, she says. "I don't know how many TV dinners I ate growing up while I watched 'Laverne & Shirley.' "

In fact, "Laverne & Shirley" will be among the honorees at this year's 10th-anniversary ceremony, along with Aretha Franklin and the casts of "Murphy Brown," "In Living Color," "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" and "One Day at a Time."

Valerie Bertinelli, the teenage star of "One Day," was Ripa's hair muse back in the day. "My mom used to make me wear my hair in braids when I went to school," she recalls, "but I wanted to have long, flowing hair like Valerie's."

The TV Land Awards aren't really a competition. They're more of an homage to the small screen of yesterday.

And as host, Ripa is no Ricky Gervais a la the Golden Globes. She's gentler, kinder and an actual fan of the shows and stars being honored.

She's as much in love with "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" as she is "Sex and the City" and even "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." On "Live," Ripa spends more time talking about her TV habits than any movie, book, Broadway show or concert she might attend.

Ripa, 41, watches reality TV with fascination. "I like the weirdness of 'reality,' " Ripa says. "I don't have the ability in my mind to make the cameras vanish as I keep on living my life, like the people who do reality TV do."

Coming from daytime drama originally — she co-starred on "All My Children" before her "Live" gig — Ripa is no TV snob. She takes it all in.

"The shows we are honoring were such a huge part of my life," she says. "It's like a very big deal for me to do the TV Land Awards."

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