CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The staff at "Anderson Live" lied to Christa Fielder.
"They told me they didn't know who the winner was," said the Cedar Rapids resident. "I went on Skype today thinking that [host Anderson Cooper] was going to Skype with all the finalists."
Cooper acknowledged the fib as he spoke to Fielder during Monday morning's broadcast, when he revealed that she is the winner of the daytime talk show's Viewer Co-Host Challenge. Fielder will fly out to New York City later this week so she can sit alongside Cooper for the Friday, Dec. 14 episode, which will feature the cast of "The Hobbit."
Fielder will join "Anderson Live" for the show's "First 15" segment, a rundown of current events.
"I still don't believe it," she said of the news. "It's just really exciting. It's a great opportunity. I've never been to New York City. I've never been on a TV show. I've never met celebrities."
The mother of two has also never entered a contest in her life, she said, but the Viewer Co-Host Challenge was different. In her words, Cooper is "very special."
With help from a group of cheering Hiawatha Day School students, Fielder filmed a short video submission for the contest. On Dec. 4, the "Anderson Live" staff announced that she was one of five finalists.
"We loved Christa's energy, her creativeness and her story, all of which ultimately led to her being one of the five finalists for the 'Anderson Live' Viewer Co-Host Challenge," said Executive Producer Terence Noonan in an email statement from one of the show's publicists.
Almost 20,000 votes were cast during the two-day final phase of the contest.
Fielder, who said she's nervous about her small-screen debut, is also hoping her win will serve as an example to her two sons and the students at Hiawatha Day School.
"I believe that anyone, if they put their mind to it, they can do anything," she said. "Any student I've ever taught, that's the message I've always wanted them to get from me."