Ryan Seacrest Pays Emotional Tribute to Kelly Ripa as He Announces Exit From 'Live With Kelly and Ryan'

Ryan Seacrest may be bidding farewell to Live With Kelly and Ryan, but his love for co-host Kelly Ripa and the team behind their long-running talk show lives on. Thursday, as Seacrest announced that he would be leaving the daytime show in spring, he paid tribute to the people who have made his six years on the show what they were.

"Working alongside Kelly over the past six years has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career. 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," said Seacrest. "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."

Ripa, who has hosted Live since 2001, will be bringing on a familiar face as her new co-host – her husband, Mark Conseulos. The show will then be renamed Live With Kelly and Mark. Seacrest officially welcomed his replacement with open arms Thursday, announcing, "It's been a memorable ride and now I'm excited to pass the baton to Kelly's 'real' husband, Mark."

Seacrest first joined Ripa as her permanent co-host in May 2017, replacing Michael Strahan. While Seacrest originally committed to just three years on the show, he told viewers those three turned into six because of how much fun he's had hosting the series. Seacrest now plans to head back to the west coast full-time, where he will continue to host American Idol and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest.

Seacrest will be missed by Ripa, who said during Thursday's show, "I'm 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." Gelman 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."