Ryan Seacrest is leaving Live With Kelly and Ryan – and his replacement has already been announced. After six seasons on the daytime talk show, Seacrest is leaving Kelly Ripa to co-host with none other than her husband, Mark Consuelos. The syndicated show will be rebranded as Live with Kelly and Mark. Seacrest announced the news on Thursday, saying that he will occasionally return to guest host.
Admitting he was emotional, Seacrest clarified that he promised Ripa he wouldn't cry. "You are family here. We love you. We are so proud of you," Ripa said on the air of Seacrest. "I know how much of a sacrifice it's been. I know how exhausting it's been going back and forth [from New York to Los Angeles]."
Seacrest joked that the cold New York winters could be to blame for his departure and said that what he initially planned as three years on the show turned into six due to the "genuine fun" of being on the show daily.
"Working alongisde Kelly over the past six years has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career," Seacrest said. "She has been an amazing partner, friend, and confidant, and although we will always be a part of each other's lives, I will miss our mornings together. I also want to thank [executive producer] Michael Gelman and the entire staff and crew – we've made memories to last a lifetime, met some of the most incredible people and had the warmest welcome into the homes of so many viewers across America. It's been a memorable ride and now I'm excited to pass the baton to Kelly's 'real' husband, Mark."
In a statement of her own, Ripa, who previously hosted the long-running morning talk show with the late Regis Philbin, said she is "so grateful to have spent the last six years beside my dear friend of too many decades to count and will miss starting my days with Ryan. Ryan's energy, passion and love for entertainment is one-of-a-kind." Michael Gelman, the show's long-time executive producer, added, "Goodbyes are never easy, but we look forward to welcoming Ryan back regularly with open arms. As a fan-favorite guest host for years, Mark is no stranger to the Live family. Having him join the show is so special for us and we're sure that viewers will feel the same."
Seacrest first joined Live in 2017. Although he was originally signed onto the show for three years, he ended up staying for six. With his departure, Seacrest plans to return to the West Coast, where he will continue to host ABC's American Idol and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest.
This marks Ripa's. third co-host shakeup. When she joined Live in 2001 as Kathy Lee Gifford's replacement, she appeared alongside Philbin. Philbin left the series in November 2011, with Michael Strahan filling his vacancy from September 2012 until April 2016. Seacrest made his debut a year later. Gelman said that with Consuelos, who has guest go-hosted on numerous occasions, joining as a permanent host, it puts literal spin on the show's original concept. He noted that "the real concept of the show, in a symbolic sense, is that they are husband and wife," adding that "they have their coffee mugs and they're chit-chatting about what's going on."