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Daytime War! The Battle To Replace Julie Chen On 'The Talk' Heats Up

CBS' search for Julie Chen's replacement on The Talk is heating up with producers lining up a long list of applicants, learned exclusively.

A source snitched to who’s on the short list and who’s off! “At the top is Julie’s hand-picked successor Carrie Ann Inaba,” the informant revealed of the Dancing With The Stars judge, who Chen publicly supported in a videotaped message released the day she quit the long-running gab fest. "You look awful good sitting in that chair, my Asian sister,” said Chen.

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“Carrie’s lucrative ABC contract will likely kill any deal,” added the source, which insiders say could lead to the hiring of another ABC alum, Rosie O'Donnell.

“Rosie lobbied hard for the job and was very close to being signed,” continued the source. “But several of the current cast members privately expressed serious concerns about her volatility and the circus-like atmosphere which always seems to follow Rosie.”

The comedian stirred up controversy for years as co-host on The View and was a guest host on The Talk Sept. 28, just 10 days after Chen announced her exit following the firing of her husband, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, after sexual misconduct allegations.

“It’s Rosie’s so-so guest appearance, lack of chemistry with the current co-hosts, and never-ending hostilities with President Donald Trump that have caused her chances to fade,” added the show insider.

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According to another source, CBS execs are holding firm that Chen's seat be filled by a minority with news experience, with former CNN anchor and HBO broadcaster Soledad O'Brien and former Fox anchor and Extra host Lauren Sanchez as frontrunners.

O'Brien, 52 and a mother of four, was the star of NBC News’ Weekend Today and now hosts Matter of Fact, a political talk show syndicated by Hearst.

“She has the ability engage in the gossipy topics and hard news stories covered on The Talk,” said a source. “But it’s unlikely she’ll uproot her New York-based family with a cross-country move for a job in Hollywood.”

Julie Chen

Sanchez, 48, has helmed high-profile gigs on Fox and is one of L.A.'s most popular and well-known news anchors. She hosted So You Think You Can Dance and sat on the panel of The View during multiple guest co-hosting appearances.

She’s also a successful entrepreneur, launching Black Ops Aviation, the first aerial filming company owned and operated by a woman. There, she produces and pilots helicopters and airplanes, often working on major film and TV projects like Wonderland with Mark Walhberg, Dunkirk and 9-1-1.

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"Lauren is willing to put Black Ops on the back burner while she jumps head first into the daily grind of live TV, but it would have to be a perfect fit,” said a source. “And an L.A.-based talk show might be hard to resist."

CBS insiders say Sanchez is a contender because of her "unique ability to keep shows moving, especially when the debate gets hot. It's a skill that will come in handy with the larger than life personalities competing for airtime on The Talk.”

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